Jennifer DeBisschop
Congregational Church of Brookfield
04-16-2006 -- Easter Sunrise

Easter Sunrise Meditation

Good Morning, and Happy Easter to all of you! I have something in this box that I would like to share with you all. It is this. What is it, you might ask? Well, it is an Easter egg. I need one volunteer to help me out with this. Now…this egg is kind of a special Easter egg. You can see that it is not decorated, and I have to admit something. I didn't cook it. Are you sure you still want to help me? Now what happens when you crack open an egg that is not cooked…no matter how pretty it is on the outside? That's right…its insides come pouring out. Well, let's see what happens here. (Cracked open empty egg over volunteer's head.) Much like the tomb on that morning so long ago, the egg is empty.

Now there are a few ways to react to what you just saw. You can see it and decide that it is no big deal. After all, anyone can take an everyday ordinary egg and clear the insides out of it. It doesn't take too much to do. But maybe you saw it and were a bit surprised. It wasn't what you were expecting, but you will just keep it to yourself and maybe laugh about the look on Patrick's face when I cracked the egg over his head. Or maybe you were surprised and you want to tell people about it, share it with some friends, your Sunday School class, or maybe in a children's sermon with the young people at your church. We each have different reactions to the things we see, we hear, and we experience…and this is no different.

The story of the resurrection also makes us think and decide what we are going to do with the information we are given. We are invited into a story in scripture that challenges us to think differently. It was perhaps an Easter Dawn about the same time as it is right now. There was a group of women who had gone to the trouble of purchasing the spices and ointments for anointing Jesus' body. It says that it was early on Sunday morning when the women approached the tomb. In their minds they knew a few things. They knew that the man they had looked to for their salvation was only a short walk away lying dead in a tomb. They knew that what they were about to do would make them realize that his death was real. They knew that the stone they would have to roll away was very heavy and would lend an obstacle to the important task at hand.

Then the women reached the tomb, and the heavy stone had been rolled away. They walked inside and Jesus' body was gone. Instead, there was an angel in the tomb who spoke to them and said that Jesus was no longer dead but had risen, and that they were to tell all of the disciples and others about what they saw there. If I were in their shoes I don't know that "startled" would be enough to describe how I would be feeling standing there at that moment.

The ending to this version of the resurrection story says that the women fled from the tomb trembling and bewildered, and that they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk. There are two other endings to Mark's version of this story, though. The longest one says that Mary Magdalene went to the disciples who were grieving and weeping with the message of what the women had seen, and the disciples did not believe her. Then two of the disciples saw Jesus on the road, and they still did not believe that his resurrection was real. Finally, the risen Christ came to the disciples, and after a few choice words they believed that he was truly risen from the dead. Then, Jesus commissioned the disciples sending them out into the world to preach the good news to everyone everywhere, to baptize people into the faith, and to work miracles and heal people.

In these different versions of the gospel story we see examples of what our own reactions can be to the news of Jesus' resurrection on this Easter dawn. Much like our possible reactions to the special Easter egg, we can choose not to believe in this news at all, or think that it is no big deal, despite what we have been taught and experienced otherwise. We can choose to believe the news but to keep it to ourselves instead of sharing it with others. Or we can choose to believe the good news of Christ's resurrection and to share that news with those around us. To share the joy of this Easter morning, this Easter Celebration, this amazing sunrise and the knowledge that Jesus' gift is the ultimate gift…to give his life so that ours can be saved, so that we can be brought to new life. We know that we did not do anything to deserve this gift of new and abundant life…nor can we repay it.

As we stand here on this Easter morning, we have come through the reflective and repentant time of Lent and the pain and intensity of Holy Week. We must realize that this Easter day is not the only day when we remember what happened all those years ago, but that we are to remember every day. And that we are not to forget that the whole story of Jesus' life…his birth, his teaching, his behaviors, his death, and finally his resurrection are all a piece of our salvation story.

The challenge this Easter morning is for each of us with this knowledge to decide how we will react. We have been offered an amazing gift in the life of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, the question on this Easter Dawn is: what will we choose to do with it? Will we choose not to believe? Will we choose to believe but keep it to ourselves? Or will we choose to believe and share it with all those around us? For Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia and Amen.