Introductions to the Readings for Easter Sunday

Isaiah 65: 17 - 25

Psalm 118

Luke 24 : 1-12

Isaiah 65: 17-25

Isaiah invites people today to consider how our experience of God’s holiness changes the world for us.

We may not feel a great need to domesticate lions, but what would the world look like if children did not die from disease or gun violence, if adults had complete access to the best medical care, and if everyone earned a livable wage and could provide for their families without anxiety?

Isaiah tells us that this is the world that worship should invite us to imagine.

 Isaiah 65:17-25 

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.

 

Psalm 118: parts 1,2 and 3 VU 837 and refrain

 

 

Luke 24 : 1-12

Our gospel reading from Luke this morning begins with a “‘But, ….”

After the events of that first Easter – Jesus’ betrayal, the cross, the finality of death, the necessity of burial – after all this -  this ‘but’ is of the utmost importance.

No-one is expecting more to this story. The gospels are styled around ancient biographies centered on the life and times of a single character. This one has been built around Jesus. Now that death has taken hold there is surely no more to tell.

‘But…’

But now the stone is rolled away and his body is missing. The women stand ‘perplexed’. Even the appearance of two angels and their accompanying message can not bring all to clarity.

Despite all Jesus’ straight talk about the purpose of his coming to Jerusalem, seeing and hoping beyond the grave lingers as an impossibility. After all, death is so final.

And so they report what they have seen and heard to Jesus’ closest friends. Even to these people, their story seems little more than an ‘idle tale’ attributable more to grief than reality.

Yes, something has happened, As they begin to put all the evidence together, the implications seem unfathomable.

Listen to the discovery of The Empty Tomb according to Luke Chapter 24 Versus 1 -12.

Jesus Has Risen

24 But, on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.