For the first day of Lent, we shared Jeren Rowell’s Ash Wednesday devotional from These Forty Days: A Lenten Devotional and provided the entire reading plan on the blog so that all The Community blog readers could explore Lent together. As we approach the end of Holy Week, The Community with be sharing the devotional reflections for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter as we anticipate our Lords death and resurrection.
We come now to the culmination of the Lenten journey: the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is everything, the center of our faith. We are a resurrection people. Resurrection is not a onetime event that happened only to Jesus. Resurrection is the transforming power and ultimate hope that was unleashed in the world through the obedience of Christ and the power of God. The power of resurrection now impacts everyone who confesses, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The power of resurrection is not only for individual Christians but especially for the people of God who are gathered by the Spirit and sent into the world as the body of Christ. Our task as the church of Jesus Christ is to live together and in this world as an authentic expression of the in-breaking kingdom of God. We announce with our words and by our transformed lives:
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
BIBLE TEXT: John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalenewent to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved,and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 1Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
PRAYER FOR EASTER DAY
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.2