top of page
St. Matthew.jpg

From The East

Matthew 28:1-10

The Rev. Jon Roberts

31 March


Calvary Episcopal Church

Indian Rocks Beach, FL

1 Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag′dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

From The East

The Resurrection (Anastasis),
Chora Church, Istanbul, Turkey, 14th C.

For many generations the Church has believed that the second coming of Jesus Christ will come from the East. In the Old Testament, the dove that returned to Noah’s ark with an olive branch came from the East. In the New Testament, the magi who traveled from afar to find the messiah, followed the star in the East.
With our church, overlooking the water it is most appropriate that we face East this morning. Even the layout of the church, inside, the altar presents the body and blood of Christ, given from the East. Today, the life of Jesus spreads through those gathered today, as the sun begins to rise. We are particularly blessed this morning to have not only the symbolic nature of light but also of water. Each will help us hold together, the ancient stories of the Bible as a whole, shedding light on the life of the coming of the Lord.

(Creation) There is the story of God creating the heaven and earth. He speaks, in the beginning, “Let there be light”, and there is light in the world. He moves upon the waters with His Spirit and creates.

(Flood) There is the story of God saving Noah in the great flood.

(Sacrifice) There is the story of a father’s sacrifice, seen by Abraham carrying the wood on his back, for a fire intended for his son Isaac.

(Deliverance) There is the story of God’s deliverance, helping Moses and the Israelites pass through the Red Sea, and there is a pillar of fire.

(Presence) There is the story of God’s presence, leading his people through the wilderness and from the rock, providing water.

Light and water are present everywhere God is. Through them, we feel the effects of God planting a new heart, giving light and watering a new spirit within each one of us. Our Baptismal covenant provides the roots that keep us alive. Bones, once dry and weary are raised up, by being filled by the Spirit. From the light of Christ, through the renewal of our Baptism, and in the sharing of his body and blood at the Eucharist, this Easter sunrise ushers in the most climactic moment of the entire Christian year. It is when the women came to the tomb and found it empty. An angel, miraculously appeared, moved away the stone and told them that Jesus had risen. In this moment, we are like them, witnessing the return of our risen Lord, and hearing the greatest message ever given.[1] Christ is risen from the dead. We feel great joy and yet fear seeing death overturned and knowing Jesus is alive. When will Jesus come again? Is it to be the end of all creation or perhaps it is specifically at our death, when He comes to meet us? Maybe we should all be looking to the East because the day will surely come.

Therefore, put your trust in Him, for a new creation, to overcome the floods, to help in making sacrifices, for deliverance and simply asking Him to be present. Let us all raise our Alleluias this morning, praising God for promises kept and not empty. People are desperately in need of hope, redemption, and salvation. By His Son, Jesus, the message lives up to his promise. As sure as God moves within the light and through the water, Jesus will move within and through us, His messengers; we, who have had our share of emptiness and woe, and who have been filled with joy and peace. If there are any who doubt, who wonder where God can be found, point them in the right direction. Tell them to look for the rising of the Son, to Jesus, who will come from the East.

[1] Matthew 28:1-10

Join the Discussion
The category is members only, sign up to join in
bottom of page