4/21/2019- God Moves… Out of the Tomb, Luke 24:1-12

We hear amazing stories, some stories that are tragic and some stories that reveal a great love. We can hear these amazing stories, while listening to the news, listening to a neighbor in the cul-de-sac or listening to family in a living room.

Within a family, we may hear the same story over and over again from a favorite aunt, or a great grandpa.

These same amazing stories we hear over and over again may be of the good ole days when they were growing up;

  • they walked to school for miles in the snow
  • they slept in a dresser drawer instead of a crib
  • they remembered the day they lost their best friend

Then the amazing stories start to be told of when you were growing up;

  • the day of your birth
  • a favorite Christmas memory
  • the time you were left behind in a store.

If a living room is full with family or a dining room table has every seat taken with friends,  one amazing story shared from the past can easily transform into endless hours of sharing stories, moving through tragedy and great love fairly quickly filling the room both with tears and laughter.

Many times with a room full of friends and family, games are a great to keep the stories going like the conversation game called,  “Would you Rather?”

This game poses a dilemma in the form of a question beginning with the phrase “Would You Rather”. You are given to choices between often two good options, or two bad options and must make a choice of which one you would rather have or do.  And the answers of neither or both are against the rules.  You must choose one or the other.  After your answer, typically a conversation continues of why the person chose one over the other.

Here are a few examples of choices in the game, “Would you Rather?”

Would you rather have a rewind or a pause button on your life?
Would you rather lose your vision or your hearing?

Would you rather have more time or more money?

Here are a few examples of choices in the game, “Would you Rather?” using the theme of story;

Would you rather hear a story on the news;

about your favorite team loosing

or about your least favorite team winning?

Would you rather hear the funniest story about your grandmother that no one has ever heard or hear your grandfather say I love you every day of your life.

Would you rather hear the Christmas Story of Jesus’ birth in Luke chapter 2

or hear the Easter Story of Jesus’ resurrection in Luke chapter 24

Picking to hear only one amazing story in our life or in scripture is hard to do because there are so many to choose from

During the season of Lent we have heard many great stories of Jesus’ ministry

  1. the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert and prevailed over the devil
  2. the story of calling the first disciples
  3. the story of laying aside stones of judgment and comparison so that we can throw grace instead
  4. the story of being an active witness of Christ’s love which may lead to knock on doors or share a meal with someone.
  5. the stories of how to pray using our body, heart, mind and strength in communication to God
  6. and the story teaching us to be found empty of ourselves so we can be filled with holiness through the life and love of Christ.

The dilemma of picking just one story is that we are called not to pick, we are called to hold them together.

When listening to stories in scripture…

We are to hold the story of the night of bad fishing together with the miracle of the two boats full of fish.

We are to hold the story of the religious leaders trickery with the woman caught in adultery together with the story of the grace offered to her by Christ

We are to hold the story of the suffering of the cross on Good Friday together with the story of the glorious resurrection on Easter Morning.

When we are listening to stories in life…
we are to hold stories celebrations and sorrow in our hand for they each teach us different truths,
we are to hold the tears and the laughter together that fill up the room,
and hold on to the God who breathes new life into us at birth and breathes everlasting life into us at death.

As hard as it is to pick between one choice and the other,
it can be even harder to hold the stories together as one.

Yet there is hope that helps us hold these together as one.

Hope is different than a wish.

A wish is a desire that the story in our head would play out in reality.

Hope is living in certainty that through God’s sovereignty no matter how things turn our there is victory at the end of the story.

Jesus teaches us to live with hope as he moved through the miracles and questioning, healings and pain, death and resurrection knowing that the cross is not the end of the story but the amazing story ends with an empty tomb and a risen Lord.

Children can teach us how to hold each other in hope;

Like when an elementary class learned that one of their classmates had cancer, they all shaved their heads in support, that is hope

Or when a neighbors learned that a child was born deaf who lives in their neighborhood, they all began to learn sign language to share a conversation with her, that is hope

With hope we can hold the promises we say together on a wedding day;
in plenty and in want

in joy and in sorrow

in sickness and in health

With hope, as parents we can hold our children in the good and hard times of life;

when they have skinned knees and when they hug us in love

when they make bad grades and when they receive a check mark

when they have hard choices and when they experience good outcomes.

When we have two contrasting ideas or stories,
our gospel story does not have us pick one story over the other,
Luke does a nice job of holding these contrasting stories together with the conjunction word

This little word is said over and over again connects stories of tragedy and great love together with the hope of our Lord.

There is rest, silence and grief on Saturday,

but the story changes on the first day of the week

The women come to the tomb looking for a body

but the story changes and there is no body

Angels appear and the women are terrified

but the story changes as the women are asked why they look for the living among the dead.

Jesus’ body is not there

but the story changes he has risen.

The women return from the tomb to tell the amazing story to the apostles

but the story changes for the disciples think it is an idle tale.

The apostles do not believe the women
but the story changes as Peter gets up and runs to the tomb to see only linen clothes

Peter leaves amazed

but the story continues as Jesus moves out of the tomb and is found on the road to Emmaus walking with two disciples.   The two disciples that were once filled with grief of death are now experiencing hope of the risen Christ. They move out of their home and back to Jerusalem to share the good news.

BUT now the story continues in us as we hold the amazing stories of tragedy and love together with great hope

With hope, Jesus moves us out of own tombs, the tragedies of the past, the difficult moments of the present to move us forward in great faith, hope and love to share the amazing story that our Savoir is not dead but alive and lives and reigns with our loving God and the Holy Spirit now and forevermore.  Now that Is an amazing story to tell. Amen

Gracious God, Hold us in the palm of your hand in the joys and struggles of life where we can be filled up with your love and hope, to move us out in faith to offer the same hope to others through Christ our Risen Lord.

Amen.

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