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  Colossians 3: 1-4 & John 20: 1-18


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   How does the resurrection of Jesus the Christ give us hope in the 21st
century to continue our commitment to love God & neighbor?

   



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It¶s now approximately 6:20 PM on Easter Sunday evening in the East African nation of
  . I wonder how many of our fellow sisters & brothers have spent the day celebrating
the resurrection of Jesus Christ & hoping that Christians & fair minded people in these United
States have heard their cries for help, for justice & for hope? !  #$%%
&&Ê'!!!  !!(
)'! *   !"
It¶s now approximately 7:20 PM on Easter Sunday evening in)'! ± the
world¶s largest northernmost city. And although the major religion is Russian Orthodox, St.
Petersburg is a center for a variety of religious groups (Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist
+ a mosque & synagogue. Currently no religion is repressed by the state. (From:
http://www.2russia.com/guide/general/).

Still there are spiritual needs for our community in this city of 4.8 million people ± where
GLBTQ people are hungry for what a Christian denomination ± Metropolitan Community
Church ± has to say regarding the Bible, sexuality & faith. !  #$%%
&&Ê'!!!! !!(


!!!%#   !"


It¶s now approximately 11:20 PM on Easter Sunday evening in both the !+  ! (Ma-
kah-tee) & the !,- ± home to 2 Metropolitan Community Churches. Makati City
is one of 16 cities that comprise Metro Manila & it is also the financial center of the
Philippines. With a population of over 510,000, Makati is the 16th largest city in the country.
(From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makati)
X  is the former capital of the Philippines & is the most populated with over 2.6
million people. This city, too, is one of 16 cities that comprise Metro Manila & is on the island
of Luzon. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quezon_City)
!  #$%%&&Ê'!!!!!! 
!(
 

Here in Athens, GA ± we are just beginning our Easter Sunday 2011 celebrations - & I ask
you the same question. &!Ê'!!!!(+
.!!. &!Ê'!!!&!(& Ê
'!!!  .. /!0&!Ê(


Did you wake up this morning, excited to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Christ? Or
did you wake up with a million things on your mind, distracting & now yet able (or willing) to
relax & enjoy this highest of holy days in Christendom ± Easter ± the day we celebrate the
resurrection of Jesus?
   
0/
#$%1%*
If you¶re distracted today or not even sure how you¶re feeling about Easter or being in


worship, you¶re in great company! Today¶s reading from the book of John, chapter 20,
recounts an interesting story. Maybe we can identify with some of the emotions of the
characters in these verses.
'  23: Mary of Magdala ± though most certainly
exhausted ± can¶t sleep so she gets up before the sunrise & heads off to the tomb,
the last place she¶d seen Jesus¶ dead body. Emotionally drained, Mary still preferred
being near the dead body of a loved one over being alone & fretting at home.
'  !.4 24 !: Upon arriving at the tomb, Mary discovers that Jesus¶
body is missing & probably in a panic, she runs to find Peter & the other disciple
(commonly considered to be John ± or maybe Lazarus) to give them the seemingly
bad news. In a panic, both disciples race to the tomb. With little sleep ± being
mentally, physically & emotionally exhausted all 3 (Mary, Peter & John/Lazarus) ± still
want to find out where Jesus¶ body is. How frustrating would it be to ³lose the body of
a loved one´ the day after the person had died?
' ,..: How queer is it that the bed clothes are left & the facial
napkin neatly folded in the tomb? Angels appear to Mary & ask her ³Woman, why
are you weeping?´ Dah? Strange questions until you realize that the angels have
information ± about Jesus¶ resurrection ± that Mary & the guys had forgotten?
' / .!'!
": Now, not only did the angels speak to
Mary, but so, too, does Jesus ± even though he was mistaken as a gardener.
Interesting how grief & loss affects our ability to see clearly«.
'   .  It wasn¶t until Jesus called Mary by name that she
recognized who he was. When was the last time someone you loved dearly called
your name? When people who love us call us by our name ± we are reminded of just
how special we are AND that we are loved ± by the people placed in our families &
our lives by God. In today¶s story, this is the first glimpse of ³HOPE´ that Mary had!




 
So, here we are some 2,000 years later ± being reminded, once again ± that the same One
who called Mary of Magdala by her name, also knows YOUR name! And like Mary, some of
us can¶t see clearly all that God is doing because of grief, loss, frustration, fear & panic.
Yet, can we ± for the sake of Jesus & the power of His resurrection ± consider that just
maybe; God is at work in our lives too? Will you dare to ³hope´ in the love & power of Christ
this morning? Will you consider that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also
working on your behalf?
! &!.!!Ê
 (5! &&!
.32&!!!!(
Quote (From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  


   
  

 

 
       
 
  

 
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