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Happy M-T Morning

Luke 24:1-10

The Rev. Jon Roberts

4 April

2010

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

Venice, FL

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Mag′dalene and Jo-an′na and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles;

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Resurrection of Christ, Sandro Botticelli, 1490, Beaverbrook Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

On Easter Sunday, worshippers entering the sanctuary at McMasters UMC, Turtle Creek, PA, were greeted by two giant, red capital letters -"M-T" flanking the reredos behind the altar. "M-T", of course, for "empty", and the good news of the vacant tomb. Rev. Jeffrey D. Sterling planned to quiz the children about the M-T during the children's message early in the service. With 22 brightly dressed little ones gathered around him on the chancel steps, the pastor asked: "What's different about the church today, children?" After a pregnant pause, Sterling's own daughter, throwing her hands into the air, replied, "It's full, dad!" [1]

The true story we tell today is one which brings a similar expression of happiness. We welcome everyone to this happy morning. Today we enjoy seeing children in church. You bring us joy. There is so much about your lives that keeps us young. Name three things that keeps you young: Age, laughter and play perhaps. We celebrate today, a form of a party if you will because Jesus lives. Not that he lived a long time ago, but that he lives today. This is seen in the colors of Easter. Bright white, pinks and yellows. We have a special Christ candle lit beside the altar. The cross which last week had a veil across it, hiding the body of Christ, is now lifted. Everything sparkles. Flowers bring to our senses the feeling of new life. Many of you came today, not really anticipating these things too much, but perhaps, instead, came out for the traditional Easter egg hunt. In our youthfulness a shared attribute is that we like to search for things and be surprised. This is also what brings so many into our church today. You're searching to find something that is true. You come to church hoping that at least it's teaching of Jesus remains to be in the open; not hidden. Inside you wish for something sweet. You crack it open expecting to find what you find every year. Let this year surprise you by finding this out. Discover that new life is opened to you the moment you taste and see what lies in the resurrection of Jesus. It is sweet and it does create within you happiness.

This morning, children and adults receive communion together, both young and older. The hunt is on! The little ones, allowed to go into the garden first, and then after a little time, the older children can go, to be fair. Each child with a basket in hand will fill what is empty. One golden egg is hidden and the most important one. Its contents are most valuable [because it is empty]. Do not be dismayed by what you find, but rather rejoice in its meaning. As it was the day of our Savior’s resurrection, so it is for us today.[2] We welcome this happy morning because, like this egg, we find an M-T tomb. Let this be a reminder of where our true happiness comes from. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia.

[1] Cal & Rose Samra, Holy Humor, Mastermedia: NY, 1996, p.60
[2] Luke 24:1-10

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