Rev. George Miller
April 4, 2021
Sisters and brothers, brothers and sisters, we are gathered here today to celebrate God’s big “but.”
And not ‘but’ as in behind, but as in-
Today is the day we celebrate Resurrection.
Today is the day of new beginnings.
Today is the day in which God says “Heck yeah!” even though on Friday the world tried to say “oh no.”
What does that mean?
Well, to understand we go back, back into time.
To Mary, the mom who magnifies God’s mercy and care for the hungry.
To Anna, the elderly survivor, sharing how she’s seen the face of redemption.
To Jesus, the prophet who reminded us of God’s promise of Jubilee, Sabbath rest, and freedom.
He who brought God to the outcasts, moving beyond walls to the shores and tables were folk were at.
The man who welcomed women, healed daughters, who encouraged us to turn back from our tragic mistakes.
Jesus, who served by saying “Remember who you are”, met us in our depravity, and sweetly said “Welcome me in.”
Jesus- the One who embodied Isaiah 58, Micah 6, the 10 Commandments by showing us how to walk humbly, love kindness, and be just.
Jesus was a light that the world could not handle, with a life force that those in power could not understand.
So they thought they could put him out. They thought they could simply unplug and silence his ministry.
So the crooked politicians and hypercritical religious leaders used the tools they had to silence him- armed force, corrupt court, capital punishment.
But you can not silence, you can not stop, you can not prevent the work of God no matter what the world tries.
See- the world belongs to God, not the other way around.
As Luke tells us, after Jesus is betrayed by one of his own, he endures a mock trial, public humiliation, and death.
As chapter 23 comes to a close, Jesus is left for dead. Just a body. He is taken down. Wrapped in linen clothe. Laid in a rock-hewn tomb.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee, who had been there since the very beginning, follow, see the tomb, see his lifeless body, go home to prepare spices and lotion.
But when Mary, Mary, Joanna and all the other bold woman came to the tomb in the dawn’s early light…the stone was rolled away and there was no body.
What a powerful word to be used in the context of this narrative.
Because this is the part of the movie in which the credits are supposed to role, this is the part of the story in which you are supposed to close the book.
But the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Jesus is not there.
How can this be; what does it mean?
What it means is that God has said “Yes” even though the world tried to say “no.”
The powers that be tried to put a stop to a man whose ministry was to make us remember, yet when God raised Jesus from the dead, it was a “but.”
A heavenly Hold Up. A holy However.
A magnificent “yes” that validated a servant ministry in which Jesus-
-sat with outcasts
-hung out with sex workers
-healed the children of foreigners
-offered water to the thirsty
-ate with so-called non-patriots
-said “come home” to those who had made tragic mistakes.
God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ is a large “but” to a people that thought that all hope was lost…
…think of us, as a nation.
How many “nos” we have encountered over the past century?
No- you can not vote.
No- you can not sit as this counter.
No- you can not work and have a family.
No-you can not age gracefully.
No- you can not marry.
No- you can not hand out water to folks on line vote.
COVID has been one big “no!”
No- you can’t go here. No- you can’t touch. No- can’t gather in 20 or more.
Yet, the resurrection, the resurrection is a reminder that through faith, God will find a way to make a yes.
Through faith, God will find a way to let justice, kindness, and humility prevail.
Through faith, God can take the crosses and tombs and work through them.
Through faith, God finds a way to say “but”, God finds a way to say “Hold up”, God finds a way to say “However.”
And for that, we do not stop, we do not quit, and for that we can say “Hallelujah!”
Hallelujah and Amen!