Throughout my message today, you will notice Waldos. When I was a little girl, I had books called, Where’s Waldo. On each page, you would look for this gentleman named Waldo. He was hidden in plain sight. You merely had to train your eye to find him.
This is Waldo.
You have a picture. And in each picture, you want to find Waldo. So, here is a picture. Let’s take a look and see, if we can find Waldo.
Good looking. Here is the picture, now with Waldo.
For our children, count how many Waldos you see throughout the message, if you get the right number, at the end of the service, I will let you choose something from my basket.
That first Easter morning, the women came to the tomb looking Jesus’ body to finish the task of preparing it for burial. They could not do so on Friday night, because it was already the Sabbath when Jesus was laid in the tomb. He laid in the tomb from the dark of Friday night until the first light of Sunday morning. They had all of that time to fret and worry about how they might move the stone, in order to care well for his body and prepare it for a proper burial.
How quickly they had to pivot! How quickly their lives changed! Alive! Alive! Jesus is Alive! Their lives changed in an instant!
Quickly, they came to realize that if Jesus was alive, there are signs of resurrection, all around us! Signs of resurrection here and now. Signs of eternal and everlasting resurrection in our everyday lives. They had to train their eyes and hearts to see signs of resurrection, like we trained our eyes to see Waldo. We are called to be awake and alert. We never know what we might see.
This might be how it feels for those who have been watching March Madness. Those who filled out their brackets and were sure that they knew who would make it through to the final four. I doubt that anyone beside Sister Jean put the Ramblers in the Final Four. But 98-year-old Sister Jean certainly has seen transformation and change in the lives of basketball players at the University of Loyola at Chicago. She has been praying for and encouraging the team for the last 24 years. Even as the run came to an end, it felt like signs of hope and possibility.
That is what signs of resurrection are. When you find love in a hopeless place. When you see beyond the here and now to then and there to the what might be. Resurrection is God’s possibilities.
Resurrection is a joke on death. In fact, today is a rare day. The last time Easter fell on April Fools’ Day was in 1956. Easter is based on detailed set of calculations with the Gregorian calendar and will coincide again in 2029. April Fools’ Day is not significant in Christianity, but it is the perfect excuse to talk about jokes in the Bible.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s essay “Palm Sunday, he writes about being invited to preach at an Episcopal church. He speaks on Mat¬thew 26, in which Jesus says, “For you always have the poor with you”.(1) Vonnegut argues that Jesus is not dismissing Judas’s concern for the poor, but rather making a joke at Judas’s expense. To make the joke clearer, Vonnegut para¬phrases it: “Judas, don’t worry about it. There will be plenty of poor people left long after I’m gone.” In his writing and his speaking writer Kurt Vonnegut has never been one to shy away from the cutting critique. He continues to observe suggesting, “People don’t come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God.” (2) The daydreams come when allow ourselves to see were God is moving around us.
Signs of resurrection are when we pause to mend broken relationships with a brother or sister we not spoken to in a meaningful way for years. Signs of resurrection are when we see budding trees and connect it to our spiritual journey. These are all signs we might see as we look around.
For this morning, going forward, only resurrection power here! Pause for the resurrection. The signs that Jesus has popped up in plain sight are all around us. The signs that Jesus will change the whole world and your world are all around us. Let Jesus change your world. Let this be the time for Jesus to change your world. Let this be the time right here and right now for God to come into your life. The Holy Spirit moves around us and within our hearts to change even the staunchest heart.
On this Easter morning, we pause not only to see the visible signs of the resurrection here and now, but the signs of resurrection for that which is eternal and everlasting. The kingdom of God glimpsed on earth as it is on heaven. The power of resurrection triumphed over death! Crucifixion does not save us. Resurrection does! Death has no power. Fear has no power. Anxiety has no power. Christ is alive!
This is gospel, the good news of our Lord Jesus, thanks be to God, Amen.
(1) Townsend, Miles. ‘Christian Century’, February 2018 issue, “When Easter Sunday falls on April Fool’s Day.”
(2) Kurt Vonnegut. Palm Sunday. Random House. New York, New York. 1981. pgs 296-300.
New Testament Lesson: Colossians 3:1-4
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 16:1-11
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
Meditations For Your Week
Sunday, April 1 ~ Saturday, April 7
Sunday: “But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.” Mark 16: 6. CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN!
Monday: “They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.” Mark 16: 3-4. Every time you wonder how will I go? How will I do? Watch and look! See if God doesn’t move even boulders!
Tuesday: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16: 7. Who will you tell today about signs of the resurrection that you have seen?
Wednesday: “Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.” Mark 16: 9-11. Sometimes the very sight of Jesus is so incredible that we can hardly believe it. Pause today to reflect on experiencing Jesus.
Thursday: “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1. Prayerfully consider how you might be seeking anew that which Christ is showing you even now.
Friday: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3: 2-3. Where have you seen signs of resurrection in the world?
Saturday: “When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.” Colossians 3: 4. Pray for God’s revelations in the world around us.