April 4, 2021 Easter Expect the Unexpected - Deacon Deborah Drake
Our lives can get pretty mundane or routine if we are not intentionally trying to use our creatively in our work or in ways like hobbies, volunteering, reading, writing, traveling, even holidays can become routine. Easter Day is here and we pretty much know who is usually expected at the dinner table and we assume certain foods will be on the table. But this year Aunt Tilly walks in with something she has cooked that we’ve never had before at our Easter table and we can’t wait to try it, we were not expecting it.
In today’s gospel the female disciples of Jesus are doing what is expected when someone has died and has been placed for burial. They are bringing spices to place on the body of the deceased. They assumed that Jesus was not going to rise from the dead, even though He had told them He would. They expected the overwhelming grief to come pouring back once they uncovered his body and saw Jesus lying there.
A large stone had been placed in front of the tomb to keep anyone from entering so the women wondered who can roll away the stone for them?
They did not expect the large stone to be rolled away and yet when they approach the tomb it had been rolled away allowing them access to Jesus.
They never expected to see Jesus alive again so they are terrified of the man they see inside the tomb telling them Jesus has been raised and
is not inside the tomb. The followers of Jesus soon learn to expect the unexpected.
What stones are we placing in front of where Jesus is present that prevent us from seeing Him and expecting the unexpected? Do you expect to see Jesus in unexpected places? If our current ways of expecting Jesus aren’t working for us than maybe we need to move out of our preconceived views, leave our comfort zones and try different practices which lead us to seeing Jesus. What are some of the ways we can change our daily habits? Create a prayer space at home and change it out from time to time, pray over the neighborhood that you walk every day, be open to conversations with people you meet throughout the day and see where it leads, pray for people in need of healing, listen to music that leads you to see Jesus. Expect to see Jesus.
Jesus appeared to many people after his death, who would expect to see someone after they are deceased? By some accounts he appeared to hundreds of people after he had died. Certainly not expected.
Have you ever said good morning to someone and asked them how they were and you expected a good word in return only to hear their response of “Different day, same stuff”? Well, of course it is the same stuff unless you expect it to be different and even unexpected.
Look for Jesus in the unexpected places, and it may be in the most desperate place or in the most joyous place. But know this: Jesus will meet you in the place and will, if you trust him, bring you peace and joy.
Paul in the First letter to the Corinthians writes “For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. ”Paul was not expected to become a leader in the Jesus movement since at one time he was actually hunting down and arresting followers of Jesus. Paul assumed the role of persecutor of followers of Jesus and never expected that he would become a follower of Jesus.
What are you assuming about yourself and that keeps you from following the ways of Jesus? As we’ve witness by the transformation of Paul we should not assume we cannot change what we believe about ourselves and how we live our lives. God’s forgiveness is for all of us.
Most of us spend our day-to-day lives not expecting resurrection. Improvements in our lives? Sure. Things getting better here and there? Yeah, why not. But to expect that which is truly resurrection—new life out of that which was dead, a new future out of that which we thought was a dead end, a new and unexpected ending out of what we presumed already had been settled—we rarely actually expect that.
Rather, we expect broken relationships to remain exactly that: broken. We assume anxiety or fear or childhood baggage or adulthood addictions will always remain, keeping us from seeing Jesus.
My beloved, know this: the power, the glory, the love of God is to bring all things to resurrected life—you, me, us, this world, the whole creation. And that is what we should expect.
Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah and say Amen