The following is my 2011 Easter Sunrise Sermon sermon preached at Hemlock Grove Christian Church.

I’m planning on taking this sermon in the future, and reworking it. I’m really liking where I’m going with the first half of the sermon- but the second half just didn’t end right. 
If you ever hear me preach this again, it should end VERY differently.

-Joe      

          Learning to Live in the Dark

         It was pre-dawn. The sun wasn’t up yet- life was silent and nothing was stirring. It was still night. – silent Darkness. It had been a long, horrible, confusing three days. Peter and John, and the other disciples, along with Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the other dedicated Followers were perplexed. Three years of their lives- their hopes, theirs dreams- the hope of a new kingdom- the perceive Messiah- the hoped for promised King…must not have been.

There was utter darkness in their souls- but, they suppose they’d get used to it.

We all do-The darkness of a soul is like a darkness at midnight with no moon without a flashlight- that is, get used to the darkness- our eyes adjust, we learn to feel around- we cope- “just make it”- we learn to live in the dark.

When things go bad, we can’t wallow in our sorrow we say- we pick ourselves up, dust off the memories that bring us to tears, and just keep going. That’s all we can do. Yes, it’s a dark time- but we get used to it. Our lives adjust. We learn to feel around- we cope- we “just make it”- we learn to live in the dark.

For Peter his thoughts were utterly confused. As he painfully, in spurts and jolts, tried to think about Jesus, select moments came to mind. There was the time when Jesus asked him “but who do you say that I am?”

Peter know that he was an impatient guy- and opened his mouth when he should have kept it closed, but announced “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) On this point he must have been wrong- Jesus was dead. Dead…dead? Wait. Didn’t he say that? He remembered that directly after this, Jesus, started to talk what he thought was non-sense- he re remembered very clearly that

Matthew 16:21

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Yes, he was killed. How could I have not heard this? As for the last part, well, he was still dead. He felt so stupid- Jesus was gone-Gone forever. Now life was utter sadness- Dark- nothing good. But, He’s get used to it. He’d adjust. He’d learn to feel around- he’d cope- he’d just make it- he’d learn to live in the dark.

Yet, he wasn’t alone there….

Mark 16:1-3

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

It was early in the morning. The Dawn. The Sun was rising. Light was starting to appear. Life was beginning- like it had since creation. Day was creeping into the world.

They trudged through the garden- Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Salome, wet with dew to the tomb. There was sadness- and while the world was beginning to show its beauty of creation that God had given it, inside the two women, there was still sadness. They still were dealing with the hopelessness- but they would get used to it. Their lives would adjust. They’d learn to feel around- they’d cope- they would just make it- they’d learn to live in the dark.

Perhaps they felt that in going to prepare the body with spices would bring some sort of closer. Jesus’ death had been atrocious- death on a cross.  It was just a week ago that Jesus had entered the city triumphantly- he was there king! They laid down palm branches and their cloaks on the ground- but now…he was dead. He died on a cross.

The sky that day grew dark- over everything.

Luke 23:44-46

 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

At that time, it was Dark. The Sun was completely covered up- no light, no warmth, no glow. Life and goodness fled from the sight. It was darkness. – And that darkness was in their souls.

It is like this when we finally call upon God. We reach the point of no control, and finally, we give in, given up, and let God control and reign. Yet, it seems, so often, we don’t go to God.

But they would get used to it. Their lives would adjust. They’d learn to feel around- they’d cope- they would just make it- they’d learn to live in the dark.

We still do this today. We don’t admit we need help. No, we don’t WANT help. We’d rather stay in our state of pain and misery than try to change. We are so lost, that we don’t even know where to begin to go to bring completeness and wholeness to our lives- so, we don’t. We stay in the Dark. Instead in finding a fulfilling life, we stay in spirit that is dead.

This what we do every time we decide not to turn to God with our problems and say “I got this one”. This what we do when rather than excepting forgiveness, we stay in the lives we live now- knowing that they’re incomplete, dark, and dead.

            Getting to the tomb, their spirits, already fragile, got slammed. Crushed. The stone was moved- the body was Gone. Jesus was gone!!!

They had gone from barely making it, to feeling nothing. Totally empty- a life of darkness, to no life at all. A life that needs to be rebuilt- a life that needs to be recreated- a life that needs New Life- resurrected, brought back from the dead.

But they looked again. They MUST have been seeing things…a glow in the dim light of dawn….and Angel????

Matthew 28:3-7

. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

He had risen? NO! Im possible! But they were told! GO! Quickly they ran tell the disciples- “he has risen from the dead!”

They told me Peter “He is risen- Just as he said!” they told him- and he raced back to the tomb- to find it empty. Resurrection? Jesus? Alive! There was hope! A glimmer of light in the darkness. This was better than coping- they deep down they couldn’t just get by- they would NOT like in the dark- They all wanted light.

We want light. We want hope- We want to be able to make it till tomorrow- we want to be able to see through the trouble s and problems of this world. We know that are far from God. We know that our lives are not as they should be. We feel stuck- trapped. We know there is no good in lives- we know that we do not make better what is around us. The life we live needs changed- revived brought back from the dead- Resurrected- life made new!

Jesus is risen- JUST as he said- and this is what it brings. Hope. A death for many- forgiveness of sins- Jesus, dying, to set men free. Jesus, dying to save because we couldn’t. Jesus dying, to bring us out of darkness and into the light of God.

No, in their amazement, they didn’t realize the implications of new life and resurrection. They didn’t realize fully the forgiveness of sins- but they would- BUT they knew something was going on! There was resurrection! Life was rebuilt- brought back from the dead- life made new!

Jesus has risen from the dead- just as he said! HE has risen. But what about me, you may ask?

As a Christian, you’re with Christ- you share in what Jesus shares in. He died- and so do we. He suffers- well, so do we.

AH ha! You say! He rose from  the dead! Ah Ha! I say- and so will we!

            When he suffered on the cross, he suffered for our sake- and in that, we have become joined- and in his death- we would be joined- and when he rose- just as he said!- we are joined….and with that…..is everything that goes with it!

            There was resurrection! Life was rebuilt- brought back from the dead- life made new! We will not get used to it- we have a hope! We will not adjust- salvation has come and changed the reality. We are not just feeling around- the Way, the Truth, and the Life  has been shown! We are no longer just getting by- we are conquerors! There was light in the darkness!

New life had come-The NEW dawning- a new reality! A new Truth! Death was defeated! Resurrection had occurred! The Son Rose. Light! A NEW day has come to the world!

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