Easter 2008

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Cambridge ON
Sunday March 23 2008
10:00 a.m.

Acts 10.34-43
Psalm 118.1-2, 14-24
Colossians 3.1-4
* Matthew 28.1-10

Put on “St John” costume.

John: -Hello. My name is John,

and I was known as “the disciple Jesus loved.”1

-So I'm in charge of the funeral for Jesus today.

-Have you ever been to a funeral?

-What do you know about funerals?

[a worship service to say goodbye

to someone who died]

-Well, it's time to start the funeral....

-My friends,

we have gathered this morning to thank God

for the life and work of our teacher,

Jesus of Nazareth.

-All of us

feel the loss, the heartache, the disappointment.

-We gather together in great pain

because just a week ago

we heard the crowds cheering,

waving palm branches.

-That was only seven days ago,

and yet it seems so far away,

almost in another reality.

-None of us thought it would end like this.

-But now he’s gone.

-It’s hard to believe that such a good person

could die such a horrible, suffering,

bloody death.

-You know, for a moment,

when I heard him forgiving the people who had

strung him up like that –

for a moment I thought something miraculous

was going to happen –

surely when someone had so much goodness

and beauty in [him]

that [he] could forgive such cruelty –

well, it didn’t happen.

-He died. He is dead.

-As so we are gathered here

to remember this great man, Jesus of Nazareth,

who meant so much to us. ...

Mary Magdalene bursts through the door, breathless

Mary: -Wait, John. Stop the funeral!

John: -Mary, don’t come barging-in like this.

-We have gathered together

to say goodbye to our friend.

Mary: -John, you don’t understand.

-We don’t need to have a funeral anymore.

-Jesus isn’t dead!

-We went to the tomb this morning

and he wasn’t there!

John: -I was afraid this would happen.

-People are ready to believe almost anything

when they are in grief,

and now I suppose because some grave robbers

came and took his body,

all kinds of wild stories are starting up.

-All we want to do

is give him a decent funeral, Mary.

-Can’t you contain your fantasies

just till we’ve done that?

Mary: John, you aren’t listening to me.

-It’s not just that his body has gone.

-We saw him.

-We talked to him.

-He said to tell you

that he’d be coming to see you too.

John: I don’t understand.

Mary: -I don’t understand either, John.

-Nobody understands, but that doesn’t matter.

-Jesus is alive.

-The funeral is over!

-Jesus is alive!

John look puzzled, lost, then turns around and takes off costume. Pastor Stephen “returns”:
-And so it was, that a funeral for Jesus
gradually turned into a celebration
because Jesus came back to life!
-That's what we celebrate this Easter!

-Easter is really a big party
that lasts for 7 Sunday's – a week of Sundays!
-And sometimes at a party,
you have noisemakers.
-We're going to use noisemakers today in church.
-When it comes time for me to read the Bible
in a few minutes,
I'm going to call you all up here again.
-And we're going to parade around the sanctuary
to celebrate Jesus' resurrection!
-While we do so,
we have a few shakers to let you borrow.
-There probably aren't enough for everybody,
but those of us who don't get a noisemaker
can use the noisemakers God has given us:
we can do what the psalmist suggested –
Clap your hands, all you peoples;

shout to God with loud songs of joy.

For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,

a great king over all the earth.”2

-You know how some clubs or groups or teams
have a special handshake?
-Well, Christians have a special greeting
that we use as we celebrate Easter!
-The Pastor says: Alleluia. Christ is risen.
-And then everybody responds:
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
-That's sort of our special handshake at Easter.
-Let's try it:
Alleluia. Christ is Risen.
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.

You may go back to your seats now.

1Ralph Milton: Easter Dialogue. excerpts


2Psalm 47:1-2