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Easter Morning – Then They Remembered

    Verse: Luke 24:1-12 plus Luke 23:13-35

    On Thursday night just past we gathered right here to mark the start of the Great three days.  We are here today at the end of those three days – Easter morning. We do this every year – and in it’s best tradition – we consider the three days to be one long worship service – it starts on Thursday with the last supper – you’ve all seen the Leonardo Davinci’s painting of the twelve at the table as the celebrated the Passover feast. That is the freedom meal that celebrates the release of the Hebrew people from the slavery of the Egyptians.  On this past Thursday, our confirmation class took part in a Seder meal at St. Ansgar – where ate they lamb, the bitter herbs, shared in the cups of wine and ate the unleavened Matzo bread as they experienced that ritual Seder meal that is still celebrated in Jewish homes to mark the Passover. It was during a Passover meal with his disciples around the table that Jesus added the new meaning with words that have become so familiar to us: “Take eat and drink – Do this in memory of me:”  At the table Jesus added that new meaning of himself becoming the new Passover sacrificial lamb.

    But maybe that was all too confusing for the disciples on that night when Jesus told them he would be betrayed. He also told them that he would suffer and die. Yesterday, Good Friday, on the middle day of these three days, we marked and remembered Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

    But here we are at the end the three days and in our story of the first Easter morning, it was the women followers who were the first to show up. Anointing the body in preparation for the next life was usually women’s work and here they are – four of them:

    • Mary Magdalene,
    • Joanna,
    • Mary the mother of James,
    • and another women who remains unnamed.

    Scripture often tells us that women are less important – well to be fully truthful it is more what the scripture doesn’t tell us that actually tells us a lot. Most women in the scriptures remain unnamed, whereas the men are usually named.

    Who was that woman?  Ah you mean: Cain’s wife (Gen 4:17) or Noah’s wife and his daughters-in-law who joined him in the Ark. (Gn 7:7)  oh I don’t forget Lot’s wife – you know the one who was turned into a pillar of salt.  Yeah but Lot’s two daughters were OK  (Gn 19:15-26). What were their names again? 

    And that is just from Genesis.

    The New Testament isn’t much different: Peter’s mother-in-law. (Mt 8:14 Mk 1:29-31) the woman who touched Jesus’ garment and was cured of hemorrhaging (Mt 9:20-22 Mk 5:25-30 Lk 8:43-48) and the mother of the Apostles James and John.

    We also know that women also weren’t to be believed in that Biblical culture and age. That is to say – a women’s testimony was not acceptable in court.  So when these women – named and unnamed tell their story to the men about the empty tomb, the men think this is an idle tale.

    {Pastor Steve’s comment: In each of the four gospel accounts it is women  who are the first witness to the resurrection which is a counter cultural statement. Compare this to Luke’s story of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the lowly shepherds.}

    So Peter has to go find out for himself – the empty tomb convinces him. Peter needed that experience – but he also needed to hear those women’s story first. That’s what got him going. But also while the women experienced the empty tomb they too needed help as  the angels reminded them of Jesus’ words when he told them what would happen.

    This morning I read the extended story from Luke’s first Easter account. Two of the men later that same day were walking to Emmaus and they actually met the risen Jesus, and still didn’t recognise him until they are reminded when Jesus breaks the bread with them. Then they remembered – ah yes! Thursday night the Passover Seder – the bread the cup and when Jesus spoke those new words: this is my body, this is my blood.

    Peter too will have remembered what Jesus had done and said and now he had risen, but not until the women spoke to him. The women remembered Jesus’ words as they there stood terrified, but not until angels spoke a word to them.

    It seems like they all were a little slow to remember and then they finally they get it that Jesus’ was now risen from the dead.

    So if you are feeling some doubt about this, you seem to be in good company like those who were first to learn the good news of Christ’s resurrection. Maybe you could use some helping words.

    — Pastor Steve then invited the children forward – join him at the font. There he talked to them (with his microphone off so no one else could hear) about the events that had happen that first Easter and gave them a message inside and sent them out to tell each person in the congregation:

    Easter Morning Message