Good morning, Christian. Today, you and I and all who are united with Christ rise from sleep to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, son of Mary and son of God.
As we rise from sleep, we are reminded of two other risings — one past, and one future.
We rise this morning and gather with our fellow Christians precisely because we have already been raised to new life through the regenerating power of the resurrected Son of God, he who is ours by faith, he whose presence and power are sealed in our hearts by the promised Holy Spirit, who himself is the down payment of our coming inheritance.
But we gather not only to commemorate our Savior and celebrate our salvation but also to anticipate our future resurrection which is coming soon, as sure as the rising sun.
We do this together, because we’re in this together. We were saved together, and we must grow together. We crossed the Red Sea together, so we’ll walk the wilderness together. We left Egypt together, so we’re going home together.
And it’s good that we’re together, because every year, month, week, and day, we learn more deeply what it means to be an exiled people. We find ourselves less at home in the world, and often more in trouble. But while we feel so far from home, we are so far from alone.
We serve a Christ who will never leave us or forsake us.
We follow and are followed by a good and risen shepherd who has already laid down his life for his sheep.
We are led and taught and protected and comforted by an adoptive Father whose promises are sealed in the blood of an eternal covenant, the blood of his own Son whose self-gift guarantees that this Father will never withhold from us anything that we need.
We are possessed by a Spirit of holiness who cleanses, purifies, empowers, and emboldens us to do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, and love all who need to be loved. And he is not just with us; he is in us.
And we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, a long line of the faithful, a heavenly citizenry who have already finished the race now set before us, whose faith-fueled endurance testifies to the strength of our Savior and the certainty of our hope.
Therefore, therefore, therefore, we do not and will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the very heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. We gather in faith, not in fear, because we are the people of the cross, and the empty tomb, and the promised Spirit. We’ve already died, and we’re already alive, and our hearts are filled with hope.
O God, lead us.
O Christ, abide in us.
O Spirit, use us.
O church, arise.