11 April 2009

Christ Is Risen Indeed

Christ has died, and Christ is risen; He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Of course you know and believe this, and confess it. That is why you are here.

Christ has made your death and grave His own, so that His Resurrection may be yours. So it is, and so shall it be, by your Holy Baptism. His Resurrection is God’s "Yes, and Amen!" to your every prayer, and the surety of your life and salvation.

So this morning and this day are full of joy and gladness. And the whole Christian life is buoyed by that same joy. Even our fasting is not without joyful hope in Christ, and our feasting is an exuberant feasting indeed. Alleluia!

Yet, even this very morning, your joy may be tinged with sadness; some sorrow in your heart or in the back of your mind; some bittersweet memory or aching regret, or the encroaching threats of life in the world that do not seem to be at all addressed by such things as the Gospel even on Easter Sunday. And there may be other days and nights when joy is an elusive stranger and sadness reigns over you like a dark cloud ready to burst and drown you in its torrents.

How easily, it seems, your Jesus and your joy in Him appear to be taken away and hidden from you — and you do not know where or how to find Him.

You may be fully convinced of His death, His Cross and Passion, but you cannot understand what it means, nor can you comprehend His Resurrection. Not when you keep looking for Him in your empty tomb, and you do not hear His voice. Then you perceive only suffering and death; not only His, but your own — and you see no Resurrection.

Like Israel, backed up against the Red Sea, hounded by Pharaoh, and scared to death; even though your Passover Lamb has been sacrificed, and the angel of death has passed over you.

Dear Christian, it is not in the tomb that you will find Jesus (nor in the garden), but in His voice, calling you by name. Where He is now laid is upon your heart by the Holy Spirit with the Word of the Gospel, that you may believe in Him, and that, believing, you may have life in His name.

But why are you weeping? Whether on the insider or outside, why? What troubles you? And why are you so sad?

When you consider your life, what do you see and perceive? If it is not Christ Jesus and His joy, where and how are you looking? What do you seek, if not Him, who is both crucified and risen?

Do you not know, and have you not heard? Have you not yet understood the Scriptures, that Christ must rise from the dead? Not only in Himself, but for you, and in you by His grace.

Let Him be your Teacher, your Rabboni: Hear and heed His voice, which calls you by name. For you are His own sheep, and He is your Good Shepherd.

Do not attempt to grasp or cling to Jesus in this world that you know in your life on earth. Your worldly knowledge and experience will never find or comprehend Him. But no, let go the yeast and leaven of this earthly life; not by hibernation or suicide, but by the cleansing Word of Christ.

Repent of your sorrow and despair, that you may feast upon Christ, your Passover, who has been sacrificed for you.

How shall you find Him, that you may feast upon Him?

Hear His Word to you, and receive what His voice gives you: Himself, His Father, His life and health and every good, His Body and His Blood. For with His Word, He reveals Himself to you, gives Himself to you, and brings you through the Red Sea unto His Father in heaven, who is now also your God and your Father.

Cling to your Savior and Good Shepherd, then, by hearing His Word and treasuring it in heart and life. For with His Word, indeed, He places Himself into your hand. He pours out His Blood for you, which shields you from death. He feeds you with His crucified and risen Body.

Do you hear? His Body is not lost or taken away, but it is given to you here; so that your body, too, shall be raised from death to life; and that your heart may find true peace and joy in Him.

He is your strength and your song; and He has become your salvation!

Christ has died. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

1 comment:

Annalise said...

Alleluia. Amen.