He is Not Here!

Session 8.13

Happy Easter!

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Introduction

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! We are looking at Luke’s Easter morning story as it is found in Luke 24: 1-12. How do we hear the Easter story with fresh ears? Where do we “look for the living among the dead?”

Scripture: Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

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He is Not Here!

You may have more people than normal in your small groups for this Sunday because it is Easter. It is an important opportunity to find ways to make the Easter story relevant in new and important ways.

Two things stand out as options for me as I consider the text for today. One is that is provides an opportunity to talk about the ways the church, either in your own local context or in general, may be dead. How do we seek the living Christ at a dead church? In what ways have we already allowed God to breath new life into the dead places in our church? How do we see God resurrecting parts of the church that have been dead for some time. Easter gives us an opportunity to talk not only about the ways God transforms individual lives, but the church also.

The second thing that sticks out for me as an opportunity for discussion is to talk about how the hope of Easter can speak deeply to the places in our own lives that are dying and broken. If Jesus can rise from the dead, then that means there is hope for all the dead places in our world. Broken relationships can be mended, broken spirits can find a way to soar again, injustice will not have the last word, loss can be survived.

There is a fine line, when talking about Easter hope, between seeing the ways God can transform dead things and making others feel like they are supposed to be happy regardless of their circumstances. Acknowledging the pain and trauma of life events does not negate Easter hope. Rather it is a testimony to it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and I hope you all find ways that God is breathing new life into the places you work and play.

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Nikki’s Video Script

He is Not Here!

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! I hope that each one of you is having a truly wonderful Easter and that you are each experiencing the hope that the risen Christ ushers into this world. Today, we are looking at Luke’s Easter morning story as it is found in Luke 24: 1-12.

I think, the most difficult part of Easter is trying to experience fresh and new. If you grew up in the church, this is a story you know forward and backward. — After Christ was crucified and buried, he rose from the dead. — We have heard the story so much that it is nearly impossible for us to imagine how impossible the whole thing sounded to those who heard it that first time.

The women went to the tomb that day to anoint Jesus’ body because there had been no time on the day he was buried. When they arrive at the tomb, the stone is rolled away and there were two men sitting in the tomb. They said to the women, “ Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”

This is the first sermon preached about the risen Christ. Simple. Short. And seemingly impossible. Nonetheless, it is the statement that all Christian teaching, preaching, and hoping springs. It is the beginning message, the central message, and the ending message. “He is not here. He is risen.”

Those women no doubt had difficulty believing the message. And today, we expect it, but I’m not sure we truly believe it or live as if we believe it. Really, Christ conquered death! And in doing so, showed us that in God’s world death never has the last word. Life has the last word.

This week the text has me asking the question, “Do I ever look for living things among the dead?” or “Do I look for Christ among the dead?” I think that when we start to rely on, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” or “We’ve never done it that way before” kind of talk we may be at risk for being like these women who came looking for the living among the dead. Or maybe when we refuse to re-imagine our own beliefs and expectations about how things work, we may be looking for Christ in a place that Christ does not inhabit. When we fall prey to these ways of thinking and believing, we stifle the work of God in this world and in our lives. We refuse to believe that God can work in new ways – ways we once thought contradictory to God. So, as you go into this Easter season, take time to imagine new places where you might find the risen Christ. Try to find the places full of life where Christ lives and works and plays – and stop looking for him in the dead places. For Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!

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