PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE
OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Emanuel
United Church of Christ

2628 Fillmore Street, Philadelphia, PA  19137
"A Warm, Welcoming Church in the Heart of Bridesburg"
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Dear Friends -

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

A theme that runs through Luke’s resurrection account is vision – knowing what to look for, and knowing where to find it. At the grave, the angels said to the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” I’d invite us to ponder these words with regard to our own lives. How often we seek life from that which is not lifegiving. We spend time and resources in pursuit of possessions or sensations or experiences or relationships that we think will enhance our lives, will make our lives complete, only to be let down, disappointed, time and again, when whatever we gain or experience adds neither years to our life nor life to our years. While the women looked for Jesus in the wrong place, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus found Jesus – or rather, Jesus found them – but they did not recognize Jesus. All they saw was a mysterious stranger who turned out to be an engaging conversation partner, a conversation partner who heard their sad tale of the state-sponsored execution of their teacher, and told their story back to them in tones of hope and expectation. Only as this mysterious stranger took the bread, blessed and broke it, were their eyes opened to see the resurrected Christ in their midst. So we need vision both to know where to look for God’s saving actions in our midst, and to recognize God’s presence when we encounter it.

Another theme that runs through Luke’s resurrection account is the importance of remembering. The angels at the tomb told the women, “’Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words.” He was calling on those gathered to remember what he had taught them. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of our daily lives, so easy to be knocked off balance by the raging currents of the events of our day, as the disciples were knocked off balance by the events of Good Friday. We can forget those places where God has met us in the past, can forget who we are and whose we are. We need to remember.

Like the disciples, we are called upon to seek God’s presence, to remember those places where God has met us in the past, and yet to be open to those new places where God may lead us in the future. May we see the signs of resurrection in our midst, around us and within us. May, like the women at the tomb, like those on the road to Emmaus, like Peter, be witnesses to the resurrection power of God, in our lives and in our community.

See you in church!

Pastor Dave





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