A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord'; and she told them that he had said these things to her." – John 20:18, NRSV
In any United Methodist church on Easter Sunday, you are likely to hear joyful choruses of "Hallelujah!" and "He is risen; he is risen, indeed!" echo throughout the sanctuary. More than lilies or favorite hymns, more than our Sunday best or an Easter egg hunt, Easter celebrates the risen Christ. Easter is the realization that Jesus was and is more than a great man. Jesus is God dwelling among us – the God who conquered sin and death and offers us freedom from the idols and addictions that entangle us and keep us from the abundant life for which God created us.
As we celebrate the resurrected Jesus, we proclaim the good news that will set people free and call them into a sacred way of living. In his book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, N.T. Wright writes, "Jesus Resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven."
When we share the message of the resurrected Jesus, we carry out our call as The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Each story is powerful, for each story is a testimony. We have indeed seen the Lord at work in our own lives and in the world around us.
Loving God, grant us courage to live the story of your great love in the everyday moments of our lives. Open us to opportunities to share the good news that we may make disciples. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Easter Day - God of majesty, we are astonished at your miraculous power! You raised Jesus Christ from the dead. You made him the first of a huge multitude to receive your ultimate gift, eternal life. Thank you for fulfilling and even exceeding your promises. Now Christ reigns with you and prays for us. Help us to joyfully tell others your good news of salvation. Receive our tithes, offerings, and gifts for the sake of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (1 Corinthians 15:19-26)
If you have participated in a Holy Communion service in The United Methodist Church, you have likely spoken these familiar words, "Hear the good news: Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that is proof of God's love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!"
These words are part of our Easter story. To those who know the good news, who have had an encounter with the risen Christ, these are more than words and Easter more is than a story. On Easter, we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection and victory over sin and death, a victory that brings freedom and hope.
As believers, God calls us not only to experience Christ, but also to go into all nations and make disciples. God calls us to tell the story, to tell our stories! God calls us to live the story in the world around us. Like Mary, who found the tomb empty on Easter morning, we need to tell the stories of how we have seen the Lord!