Stations of the Resurrection

I – At the Emptied Tomb

A Psalm Paraphrase

P: Send praise to the highest heavens! God has had the last word, and it is “Life!” His mercy is eternal and His love endures forever.

1 So what shall we do with this news? Tell you what: broadcast what God has done, and invite everyone to join in the festive celebration. Our last enemy has been defeated. Death no longer reigns. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

2 Architects and builders choose their foundation stones carefully but, in this case, they discarded the best cornerstone on which an edifice can rest. It has now been restored to use. Let us build our lives on this rock-solid cross-formed foundation stone so that we can withstand the disasters of history and the cruelty of tyrants.

3 Jesus comes to us wearing a multitude of faces as the Lord of Life. He is with us in the great procession up to the high altar of the presence of God. So wave your banners, blow your trumpets, and shout “Hosanna!”

P: Glory and blessing be to God the Holy One, Creator of the universe, who in the power of the Holy Spirit, raised from the dead our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

Lection

1 Corinthians 15:12–22

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

P: This is the word of the Lord.

C: Thanks be to God.

 

Matthew 28:1–6

1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

P: This is the word of the Lord.

C: Thanks be to God.

Artwork and Discussion

Matthew 28:1-4 — Luke 24:1-3 — John 20:1-2

No human witness was present when the “molecules reknit and the amino acids rekindled” in Jesus’ body. The exact point of the resurrection was like the “big bang” of the first creation–no one was present to measure, investigate or record it. There is no photographic evidence, no “god particle” that descends to reinvigorate the dead body of the Savior that might be registered on some photographic plate. The measurement comes later in the changed circumstances of the first witnesses, in their movement from fear to boldness, from depression to joy, from aimlessness to mission.

The resurrection event is the “second genesis” of a new creation–a new age that interrupts the old and begins to infiltrate the old order of death with the new order of life. Both orders will exist side by side like wheat and weeds in a field or sheep and goats in a pasture. Our imagination is stirred by Matthew’s description of the earthquake, the descending angel of light who rolls back the stone, and the guards who mimic the dead stone. We direct our attention to the new title worn by God the Creator: the One who Raises the Dead.

The earth splits open. The lightning-clothed angel “sits on the stone” in mastery. Jesus is risen. This is the “day of the Lord” (Isaiah 13:13) but, instead of burning anger, the fierce judgment of the Lord is turned into a life-giving stream as the Word becomes the nourishment for the land and its inhabitants, a “refuge for his people” (Joel 3:16). The resurrection is God’s vindication of Jesus’ ministry–his words and work, which now continue in the witness of the community of his follers. They are “followers fo the Way” and believe that we still see Jesus when human need and loving ministry connect. We have a resurrection faith: our allegiance to the teaching and example of Jesus will show the power of righteousness, love and mercy.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

 

Meditation / A Responsive Reading

4 Count me as one of the doubters who had given in to despair. Up against the wall of oppression and nailed to the cross, Jesus didn’t save himself. My hope died with him. It appeared that he was the one to redeem the people from bondage and then he, himself, was bound.

5 Beyond expectation and contrary to the physical order of things, the Spirit of God raised Christ Jesus from the dead. It is incredulous but stupendous, this earth shattering reality. It turned out just as he said: the Son of Man has been “raised to life on the third day!”

6 Just as Mary’s womb was the genesis of the Son of Man named Jesus, so Joseph’s tomb was the genesis of the Christ of glory–the Second Adam of the new creation, the First-fruit of the resurrection harvest. In Christ all will be made alive.

7 Christ is arisen! He is risen indeed! From the grave’s dark prison! There is no going back to melancholy and despair. We live in the light of God’s love. Alleluia!

 

The Prayer

P: O God of life, you will not lose anything you have created, but hold everyone close to your heart. Just as you raised Jesus our Lord to life, so grant us the gift to follow in his footsteps and finally awake in his likeness, to the praise of your glory. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn

 

Closing

A: On Ash Wednesday a cross is usually marked on our foreheads with ashes. On Easter, a stamp with the mark of a cross/heart/water waves of baptism can be stamped on your forehead or the mark of the Spirit/dove. Make the stamp out of felt glued to a stick. Use face paint in a host of colors. Start with children of all ages — and don’t neglect adults.