Easter Sunday the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord. By Rev. Canon Patrick P. Augustine, Rector

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Acts 10: 34-43, Colossians 3:1-4, Luke 24:1-10 "Why Do You Look For The Living Among The Dead? He Is Not Here; He Is Risen." Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, Alleluia!

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What did it happen at dawn on Sunday? If it were somehow possible to get an authentic replay of an event from the past, probably more people would opt for the first Easter than for any other episode in history. Or, if Jesus had lived in the twentieth century instead, his grave would probably have been guarded in a different fashion: scientists would have installed sensory devices both inside and outside the sepulcher; medical experts would have been scanning computers recording any of Jesus' life signs-or lack of them; theologians and philosophers would have recorded their impressions on tape; while photographers would have been ready to focus anything visible on film of every kind. Or would any of this have happened? Possibly the hints Jesus dropped about "rising on the third day" would have gone just as unheeded today as then.

The Easter proclamation is probably the most important message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's message is central to the Christian faith. We proclaim not how good Jesus was as a prophet, sage, guru, healer, preacher and a Rabbi. The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus is about the Resurrection, that "He Is Risen." Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!
It is no myth, hallucination or day dreaming of the disciples of Jesus. But what we are talking about is that Jesus was dead. D-E-A-D dead. Not asleep. Dead with a capital "D."

On Friday noon time Jesus was nailed to a cross and crucified. It was late Friday afternoon when he finally died and they took him off the cross. It was so late that they had to rush to get his body into the tomb before the Sabbath started at Sunset. There wasn't time to properly prepare his body for burial. So early Sunday morning the two Marys and Salome set out for the tomb to finish anointing Jesus' body for burial.

To their amazement, the tomb was open; the stone was rolled away! And a man dressed in white, an angel, stood there. He said, "Don't be amazed, you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen from the dead!"
He is alive! That is the good news of Easter! He had died on a cross, but now he lives again! All his vital signs indicated that Jesus who had died on a cross was again a living breathing walking talking person!

I know many of us today and others who have gone before us have struggled about comprehending the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not only your or my problem. The two Marys and Salome didn't get it. They were so afraid, the Bible tells us, that they didn't tell a soul. Instead of being excited they ran in terror. The four gospels are pretty honest about the struggle of the disciples of Jesus Christ. One of the most remarkable things about the story of the resurrection as given in the four gospels is that all the accounts of these eye witnesses emphasize the doubts of the Lord's followers. They were in a skeptical frame of mind and not ready to accept hearsay evidence. "The women said nothing to any one for they were afraid" (Mark 16:8). When Mary Magdalene told them of her vision of a living Christ "they disbelieved" (Mark 16:11). When they saw Him on the mountain in Galilee some worshipped Him "but some doubted" (Matthew 28:17). The apostle Thomas kept his doubts for a whole week and then he was convinced. Once sure about the resurrection he worshipped Jesus with words of adoration: "My Lord, My God." Alleluia, Christ is risen.

The faith of the apostles in the actual resurrection of Jesus Christ, therefore, was not a blind faith but open-eyed and built on accumulative and irresistible evidence. "He showed Himself after His passion by many infallible proof, being seen of them forty days." "And the number of those who thus saw Him alive and recognized Him was more than five hundred" (Acts 1:3; 1 Cor.15:6). Paul describes Jesus' "resurrection appearance" in these words in his first letter to the church in Corinth. "And if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that He raised Christ-whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised" (1 Cor. 15:14-15).

Like Paul, Sadhu Sundar Singh of India was a convert from Sikh religion in a wonderful manner by a vision of the Risen Christ. He was changed like Paul from a bitter enemy into a devoted disciple of Jesus. He shared his testimony of his conversion in these words:

"When people ask me, what made you a Christian? I can only say: 'Christ Himself made me a Christian.' When He revealed Himself to me I saw His glory and was convinced that He was "the Living Christ." "I do not believe in Jesus Christ because I have read about Him in the Bible- I saw Him and experienced Him and know Him in my daily experience." "Not because I read the Gospels, but because of Him of Whom I read in the Gospels, have I become what I am." "Already before my conversion I loved His teaching; it is beautiful . But my doubts were swept away until I became aware that Christ was alive." We join Sundar Singh and Paul in saying, Alleluia, Christ is risen.

On the day of resurrection it is not only Christ who is raised from the dead but the Church "rose" that day from doubt and disbelief into a church believing in the resurrection of the living Christ. Reflect on Peter who denied three times to have any association with Jesus. Now, after the resurrection and on the day of the Pentecost when the church was born, this same Peter said to the people in Jerusalem: "This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:32,36). We join Peter in proclaiming, Alleluia, Christ is risen.

The resurrection has been extended by Jesus to others as He Himself had said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live."(John 11:25). He said, "Because I live, you also will live" {John 14:19}. And out of that open tomb has arisen a blazingly radiant, flaming hope which has gripped and held the hearts of thousands and millions since, throughout the centuries. May it shine continually to drive away all darkness from our hearts as this Paschal candle shines on Easter morning. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning-he who gives his light to all creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (John Chrysostom)

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen
Alleluia, Christ is risen.

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