*Below is the last part of my Easter sermon from this past Sunday (Luke 24:1-12). You can find the entire sermon here.
I know that Easter sermons usually focus on the women–their faithfulness, their witness. Or maybe on the men and their disbelief. Or, if we preachers just want to go for the obvious, we focus on the resurrection itself. The fact of real and true and eternal life no matter how real and true and eternal death might seem. It’s all true and important and holy.
But this year, I’m really struck by these men in glowing robes. To be honest, I’ve never paid a whole lot of attention to them before. But this year I’m haunted by their word: remember. Because it is at once so simple and so hard. To remember.
We are certainly capable of forgetting things we have heard and seen. And we are also capable of remembering things that never happened.
Remember. It seems simple and easy. But it is actually hard and complicated. And so, so important. Remembering is important for who we are now, in the moment. And it is important for who we will be in the future; for how our world is and how our world will be.
As people of faith, or even as people who think we want to try to be people of faith, remembering is essential.
Jesus participated regularly in the festivals of his Jewish faith that recounted the stories of scripture. Festivals including Passover, in which the story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt is remembered amongst the Jewish people.
It was at a Passover meal that Jesus spoke the words that Christians hear at the communion table, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
It seems that we all need help with this essential commandment. Because it’s not as easy as it seems.
Like what we do here, together. In many ways it seems a simple thing. What we do in this place each week. We gather. We read words from the scripture. We tell stories. We share pieces, small pieces, of our lives. We give each other blessing and wish each other peace.
We help each other remember.
Because when we are living real lives; when we are sad and scared and confused and exhausted, it is all too easy to forget. Easy to forget even the most important things.
That God is good.
That you are loved.
That light shines in the darkness.
That life has defeated death.
“Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”
“Then they remembered Jesus’ words.”
Even standing in front of the empty tomb, as we are today, it can be hard to remember.
And, assuming no people in glowing clothes come walking through the door–or falling from the ceiling–might I suggest that we can be those messengers to each other. We can speak the words of life to each other. We can tell the stories. We can prompt the remembering.
On this Easter morning, I give thanks to God for the amazing, saving, life-giving power of the resurrection. And I give thanks to God that I have you–each of you–with whom I can gather to remember. Let us remember together. Let us remind each other: Christ is risen!