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You wake up one morning and you take your customer stroll down a Jerusalem high stream, as you wander down the street, you pick up through your charter market traders and you think how peaceful life has been for the last few weeks. It’s been five weeks since Jesus has been arrested and crucified, and why you’re not sure that you agreed with the decision, a piece for life is pretty good, and you know about all things the Romans were not to be messed with.
As you wander down the street, you look further down and see a crowd is gathered, and your interest is around, you begin to walk closer, and you hear languages from all over the place. Now, Jerusalem’s a cosmopolitan city, so that’s not unusual in itself, but a crowd like this… Well, that is unusual. As you get closer, you start to recognize some faces, some of the men that have been conspicuous by that absence the last few weeks, some of the earliest followers of Jesus, they’re there in the center of the crowd and they’re the ones that are shouting excitedly and as you get close enough, one of them comes up to you, someone that you know well, and He begins to tell you over and over again, he’s not dead, he is risen, He is alive, and something your heart leaps and catches in your fruit because you begin to ask this question, what does that mean? You know for certain that Jesus died, the Romans, These invaders, they made mistakes of just as sure if a few innocent people have to dive for peace, they didn’t mind, but mistakes of execution. Never. No, Jesus was definitely dead.
But how do you explain these people, you know, resurrection doesn’t happen, and yet these people should be running, go hiding, but here they are in the street recruiting, shouting over and over again. Jesus is alive, He is not dead, he’s risen. And you’re left with this question, what does that mean? Does that mean that the story is true, and if the story is true, but then what would that mean? Is Jesus really alive? You can sit down… Thanks for standing with me all that time. Welcome friends. It’s great to have you here on Easter Sunday. If you are in church for the first time in a year, then that’s a wonderful thing, if you have tears coming to your eyes because you’re back in community, then there’s nothing wrong with that. This is our third service of the morning, the first one involved is all getting up at like 5, 45 or something like that, but I can say without, now that you guys are my favorite service, and I’ve said that on camera to the people at home as well, you guys are my favorite service, and if we’ve not worked out any deletions by now, we should have had a chart, it’s simply incompetence that is causing glitches at this point.
What does this mean? We’re starting in an unusual place, we’re starting five weeks after Jesus, death and resurrection was starting in this book called Acts, it’s… For those of you that are not from a church background, it’s one of the early texts, it’s how the church figured out how they were a church, as this crowd gallows and begins to yell that Jesus is alive and people start to question it. We told This, amazed and perplexed. They ask one another, what does this amazed and perplexed in a morning, like East to Sunday, I’d suggest there’s probably people from all… In all sorts of places, some of you would say you’re not following Jesus on a journey, we have a vision that says We wanna live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus, and if your honest, you’d say, that’s not me, and that’s fine. Maybe you came because someone asked you to come all the way through to people who have been following Jesus for 60, 70, 80 years, and amongst us, there’s probably people in all sorts of different places, maybe you would describe yourself as actively agnostic. Yeah, you’re here because someone asked you, but you’re trying to maybe figure it out a little bit, but you’re just not sure about whether Jesus is who He said He is about faith in general.
Maybe there is another group of us that would describe ourselves as a seasonally spiritual, we get into this thing at outer, we have these rhythms that we pick it up or through every now and again, but it’s not consistent, and again, no judgement. That’s fine. Life is busy, and then there’s a group of you that might say We, I’m continually committed, I’m always around, and this is just a place that I call up across that spectrum. These two words maybe impact us differently, maybe some of us think about resurrection and we would say, I’m amazed, I believe this thing happened and it’s captivating, maybe others of us would say… I’m a little perplexed. I’m not sure, I’m trying to figure it out. But regardless, that question, What does this mean? Probably impacts all of us, maybe in different ways, but it’s probably relevant to all of us, resurrection is this huge idea, if it’s real, it changes everything. A few years ago, I had a friend who called me accidentally, I got one of classic but dials, and because my name begins with a… Get these fairly frequently. If you don’t know an Adam or an AR, and then it’s probably gonna come through to Alex, and so I got this core and it happens, I usually, I listen in to make sure they’re not talking about me.
I’m very narcissistic, I grant you, and then I listen in to make sure that if I can catch any news that’s available, and I know I’m tapping into some of your deep fears, because every single one of you has had moments in life where you looked at your phone, I said, please say I didn’t cause someone in this embarrassing moment, but this… What was different in that moment? It was a co-worker that called me and I picked up the phone… All I got her on the phone was, no, please, no. No, no, please know. You know, when my adrenaline shut up, I thought, Is she in trouble? Does she need help? Am I supposed to do something? And yet I knew the person that she was with and they’ve just been with me, and then I thought, well, they’re both co-workers, they now work for me, maybe it’s a prank, maybe they’re just trying to wind me up, and then when she called me back later when I found out was that I had actually had it right after receiving a call that her dad had passed away, it was the heartbreak in the anguish, so many of you have been through maybe this year, maybe during covid, maybe in the past, or you certainly will in the future, what I heard was have begging in this instance, in this particular case, could death please work backwards? Could it reverse itself? And could not be true.
And if you’ve been there, man, my heart aches for you. But every single one of us would deal with that at some point, that’s why resurrection is such vital subject, and when these earliest followers of Jesus began to grab hold of the significance of his resurrection, they started to sketch out for the next few years, well, what does it mean then what… How broad is in What are metaphors that we can use to explain it, so what I’d love us to do for our time together, and the creative team said to me… You have 25 minutes and I usually get 40, so it’s gonna take some work and I’m gonna talk fast. And we’ll get through this together. But when I sketch some images of the beauty and the joy of resurrection and what it meant, and to do that, I’m gonna rely mainly on stories and images in the hopes that when you take them away, those are the things that stick. So we started in Pentagonal five weeks from… They were gonna back track to start with, we’re gonna ask ourselves about Good Friday, this day that we’re just celebrated. And I want you to use your imagination.
Again, you’re one of Jesus earliest followers. You’ve been with him on Thursday when he’s been arrested, you spent the night pretty sleepless, and the next morning, Friday, you hear this going to be an execution, you grab a sword and hide it under your cloak, but really, what are you gonna do? You versus a whole bunch of Romans in the crowd that seems so in favor of Jesus last week is now firmly against him. You don’t wanna get too close to the front because you might recognize, but you don’t wanna be too far away because you love Jesus, you’ve spent three years with him and is important to you, and as you stand there, you think about the celebration you’ve just had that week, it’s been this festival called Passover, where you remembered how there was this time, your ancestors desperately needed God to do something and he did. Death literally passed over those thousand years ago, and you begin to ask, Could this happen for Jesus, because Jesus is good in a way that you’ve never met before. Could death pass over for him, and then you watch as his breathing becomes slower and more labored, and then you listen as with his final breathe, Cristi one word to tell a Ty.
What does it mean? Finished. Does he mean he is finished? Does he mean death is coming? Does he mean the plan that the idea is finished, does you mean that the hope that you have the dreams, that you sort of dream together, the idea that the world could be a better place, you didn’t understand him always, granted, but it always was so compelling. Does it mean that that is over and… And yeah, that seems true without Jesus, it is over, there is no hope, but then you think about the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem defeated, he seems like… I think he thinks he accomplished something. He start to think about the word finished complete. One of the early metaphors that the church used to talk about death and resurrection was this idea of finished… This is John, one of Jesus biographers, one of his earliest followers, if you’re unfamiliar with the Bible, when he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished, and with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. For the earliest followers of Jesus, His death and resurrection meant freedom from past guilt, from the weight of their own history that they carried all the time, the sense that every single one of us has this thing…
This inner voice that says, I’m not okay. I feel like I might not make it. If I had to wear good and bad in the scales, maybe I could throw some good in there, but they’d also be some bad and… And does that even matter if God is completely good, how do I stack up to this completely good God, they tapped into this sense of guilt that was already present in the people that they were talking to, and they said, Jesus death and his resurrection… This is the answer to that. He came, that that debt might be paid, and again, I’ll ask you to use your imagination, imagine you’re a man or a woman with a business dream, your dream is to send people into space to have them stay on a hotel where they can see the ice caps and the deers at the same time, and that would seem ridiculous 20 years ago, but now we’re like, We could… Seriously, if you’re talking about this soon, and so you happen to know the right combination of people with money and people with a science background, and you work together and the dream looks, it’s about to come true, the rich and famous line up to jump in on your project, they wanna go and experience what you’re offering, and then right before the end, disaster strikes, one of your final unmanned flights explodes, one of your scientists that did some of the key research confesses he, he actually can’t do what he said he was going to do.
You find out that has many financial people are betting against you as betting a for you, or betting for you, and then you find out that the government is investigating your work, and even worse, they’d like to help with a project at Tel government choke for you. There, from the least political fastening the room. In that moment, you say, What do I do about this situation? Your mortgage, your house, and because the Denver real estate market is crazy, you get 500000 to be able to begin to pay back a loan, and you come up with this plan that you work for the next 40 years and you’ll pay back a quarter of a million dollars a year, but you know, the plan is ridiculous. You could work for 40, 50, 20 lifetimes. And you wouldn’t be able to pay back this money. As you stand in the elevator, going up to see one of your main financial backers, you practice over and again this speech, trying to explain to them what you’re going to do, and as you walk into the office, you surprised that she’s smiling. And as you begin to outline your plan, she says, What do you mean? Repay the money.
I’m a venture capitalist, I take risk. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t do. There’s no debt to repay, and as you begin to offer the check from the house, say, or she says, Oh no, I bought the loan from the bank this morning, here’s the note, and she tears it up and she hands it to you, she asks how you’ve lived for the last few weeks, how you’ve survived with no money, and you tell her about the kids school payments that you’ve put on credit cards and how you build up more and more of that, and she says, How much does it cost? And she pulls out a check book and says, I’m gonna write a number on here, tell me how much it really costs, and then she says, Well, I’m gonna add a little more on the end just to make sure I cover it. And then as you begin to walk out unable to believe how your life has changed in the last few minutes, this… Oh, by the way, when you’re ready to make the project work, make sure you come back to us for the money, we still believe in you and what you’re doing now, of course, the story isn’t reality because that’s not how finance works, and it’s not even real allegory it doesn’t picture directly what Jesus did, it’s a story that’s meant to tap into the extraordinary ness of forgiveness for…
For the earliest followers of Jesus, when they thought about what deaf and resurrection meant, they said it was freedom from the debts of the past, you are free from everything that you would hold against yourself… This is this right, or pool, one of Jesus early followers right into a church and a town called Coles, when he was stuck in your old sin dead life, you’re incapable of responding to God, God brought you a life right along with Christ. Think of it, all sins forgiven, the sleep, Wipe clean, the old arrest were an canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross, they thought about freedom from the burdens of guilt, the week, all carry those things that you know… Look somewhere in your heart. But something more, when they talked about what Jesus death and resurrection meant, they talked about the idea of the possibility of transformation in the present. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The oldest pastor away, Behold, the new has come as they look for a word that would help them capture everything Jesus had done, the word they landed on was metamorphosis, the same word that we use to describe this process.
Now, this is usually where some really smart person comes up to me after the service, or drop me an email and says, Well, that type of Caterpillar wouldn’t turn into that type of butterfly, and you may be technically right, I don’t know. But you are missing the point. Perhaps there is this process that happens here where a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon and its body literally disintegrate, I always thought I just sprouted wings or something like that, but… No, no, no, it breaks down and it reforms as something else, when early followers of Jesus tried to sketch out what does death and resurrection, man, they said it means that you can be transformed into a different person because of that process, and if you’re a kid here in the room, we would love to give you a caterpillar when you leave, in the hope that it will turn into a butterfly, and I say hope because we do not guarantee this, and if any of you kids try and come and ask me for your money back where you didn’t pay anything. So you’re not getting any money out of me, but hopefully it does become a butterfly, hopefully it does do this transformation thing, If you ten for it and care for it, well, I’m gonna put the responsibility on you, and if it doesn’t work, it’s because you did it wrong, but the thing that Jesus offers that is guaranteed, that is something, he says No, this will happen the moment you decide to walk into life with Jesus, the moment you take what He did, that death and resurrection, say, God, would you…
Let that apply to me. He offers new life, this instant instant wants and for all transformation, it was new freedom from the past debts that you carried, but it was also a new life in the present, but not just as a one of thing… One of the things the earliest followers of Jesus sketched out was that this was a continual present and a continual transformation. This is the same guy, Paul, in a letter to a church in Rome. So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you, take you every day or an relive your sleeping eating, going to work and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does to you is the best thing you can do for him, don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking, instead fix your attention on God, you’ll be changed from the inside out. Is that continue or present changing thing, and we wanted to tap into this idea through story, and so we thought, Who better to pick… For those of you that know South well, then, a good friend, Carolyn Schmidt, who couldn’t be here today, but he’s here in presence on video and in spirit, and all those different things.
I didn’t just pick it ’cause she’s old than I am, but I picked it because a story has this beautiful poignancy and there’s a full 30 minutes video online, you can watch it if you like to. Aaron, with his magical skills, managed to cut it down to five. So here we go, homecare, thank you for sitting down and talking to us. And for those of you that don’t know, Carolyn is just a long time there, right up on it, letter and how long… You can tell everyone how about
67 years with 7 years member of South and went through covid and was in hospital. And we have one, I had moments where I was like, Wow, I’m not sure whether I get to see you walk in the building again, and to see you walk in my office today, it’s just such a joy and relief, and whether it being Easter, we wanted to talk about this idea of renewal
Of how God incredibly brings life out of death, as we’re talking about this, he creates gardens out of graves. We would start with just some history, like the beginning… In about middle history.
What did the beginning looked like a family life for me was… By the time I was 12 years old, both my parents were dead and both of my paternal grandparents were… Did at one time or another, I have lived in at least 15 different places with sometimes changes to Complete family, all within the blood relatives, but for what… A variety of reasons, and finally was split up from my sister when I was 10 years old, six months before my mom died in New Mexico, and I moved back to Denver to live with the… At an uncle there, and neighbors of ours introduced me to South Presbyterian Church at 1700 South Grand, and then as I got older, I went by myself, and my daughter one time said she never realized what it must have been like to go to a church by yourself as a kid, come home by yourself to abuse from the AD who hated anything to do with church.
Sometimes we think that the Jesus story and he’s working is this one-off event, it’s just a… No, and it seems like you’ve seen this pattern in your life is this
Is honoring ingall, it’s like this crack quilt, and it’s not that each crab has a history, but there’s dark and there’s lights in it, if you can see it. And I put it together because I thought on my mind operates like that… No, my whole life has been like that. On April 2nd, 2008, my husband died of pneumonia that went in to septicemia, we had no warning. No, nothing. He got sick on April 1st, wound up in the hospital, he was gone the next morning, 24 hours. Well, I have been an orphan and now a widow and a not so Dolan and utterly dependent on my Lord. That’s what this was utterly dependent in the hospital, and so then the staff started calling it miracle… Miracle, miracle. And so here I am just thinking, What do I… What now, that’s an increase… That it happens as a result of a miracle. I was talking to one of the nurses, I said, Anna, what do I do now? And she says, You go on, do it. Exact with what you’re doing now at it with loving people.
So what I was sitting here in spirit on resurrection Sunday. Yes, it is the highest day of the year, it’s this wonderful moment of joy, and so just for a second, just share with us as a community, what do the word Resurrection Sunday and what does the day mean
For us? It’s a resurrection, a renewal of delighting ourselves in the Lord and recognizing it’s not that he’s giving us the desires of our heart, He is the desire of our heart, I love taking the light and being… Any morning, every morning I wake up is potentially a resurrection, and at this point for me right now, I am going back and seeing it all, and I mean all the hard stuff, the loss… Everything as pure gift. And the fact is, the resurrection would not have been possible, except for the ugliness of what Jesus went through for us, resurrection only happens reserves death, we’re talking about Graves into guns rights, the seed that’s planted, it has to go in and has to die, and it springs out in your life, that what I leave behind. For everybody I know is somebody who like the Lord, not seems like a good, good way shoreline to cheats a resurrection on, come right down to it for every morning to be praying that.
Thanks so much, Carolyn. So good. Did you hear some of the language there, every day has the possibility of resurrection, you talked about the good, the bad, how God was leaving this tapestry, that’s what it looks like for life, not to just be about transformation once… Forever, the transformation to be continue this partnership that’s got… Goes on, and it’s almost like God in His love for us, said, Transformation is fun. Why don’t you and I do that in your life together for a long time, this is the process that you are invited into in death and resurrection, but not just individual, ever for this whole world, this is this continual process that seems to go on and on and on my wife has this best friend that she’s never… Ever met. She loves Joanna Gaines from fixer, because I’m annoying. I regularly make out like, I don’t like them a tour, when in actual fact, I think they’re great. And she just rolls her eyes, which is normal, right? Every half-decent guy has a great woman behind him, rolling his eyes, and so she will talk about just the wonders that you see it, and I just think what they do is amazing.
You see old, and then you see what is possible, and the new friend, a Reese’s a part of our community, he sent me a couple of pictures of a kitchen he was working on this last couple of weeks, you see old, and then you see new and you talk about a life coming out of all things into new things, it’s like God in His love rested, I long to see transformation in you… Yes, once and forever like a butter, a cater, Philip becoming a butterfly, but also continue. When the first followers of Jesus talked about resurrection, they talked about, yes, freedom from the guilt of the past and transformation in this continual presence that you are invited into, but for the first thousand years, one of the predominant metaphors that often gets forgot or forgotten today is the idea that Jesus was victor over death, that Jesus death was a victory that every single one of us needed because deep in our own hearts, there is this fear of this ultimate reality that we all at some point must face. I remember as a child getting on a bus every day and go to school on the school bus, drove pastor graveyard, and for some reason, instinctively as a young child, what I would do was I would get the point where the grave it started and he would hold my breath, that was terrible on the days with the traffic backed up two and a half Hadiths, bus really needs to move, but there was something instinctual and me that said, I don’t like this thing, it was my own childish equivalent of whistling past the gravida the earliest follows of Jesus sketched out what this meant, they said they tapped into this problem I had death and the grave, and never satisfied.
It affects every single one of us. That’s why resurrection is such a big subject because it affects us all and it taps into our ancient story. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible, the first story in the Bible is about a man and a woman and the garden. It’s about relationship with God. We don’t have time to go into the whole thing. But it’s there and it’s part of our history. This first man through his own broken us, through his own failure, broke that relationship and changed his own life ever and doing so changed as to… When you look back into this book Genesis, which means beginnings, we see, Adam took a guard and then I was gonna pick an English God, but it is Masters week coming up, so I picked the wonderful Augustana tonal golf course, and some of you could… People that love golf can just picture yourself there and know that you’ll never get there, but… We all have to suffer. Adam takes a garden and he turns it into a grave, he takes a Gada, and he turns it into a grief, and that affects every single one of us for all time.
And as these early followers of Jesus started to realize the magnitude of what Jesus had done and what resurrection meant… This all connects together. This is one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus in this book. John, Now, Mary stood outside the tomb crying, notice that it’s the women that get there first, the men were still Sunoco, and we’re trying to figure what to do next. As she wore, she’d been over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus body had been, one of the head and the other at the foot, the as a woman where you crying. They have taken my Lord away, she said, and I don’t know where they have put him. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He has a woman where you cram… Who is it? You are looking for… Thinking he was the gardener. She said, So if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him in, I will get him. Jesus said to a marry, she turned towards him and cried in our make for Boni, which means teacher, Jesus said, Do not hold on to me for I have not yet send it to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father to my God and to your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, I have seen the Lord, and she told them that he had said these things to her. This first start on this man back in Genesis takes a garden and he turns it into a grave in this wonderful symmetry. The reverse happens here. She thought he was the gardener. And maybe in some weird way. She isn’t wrong about that. In the same way, Adam takes a garden and turns into a grave, Jesus takes a grieve and he turns it into a garden, this place that is this about death becomes this place that is about life, Jesus took a grave and turned it into a guard and for the first hundreds of years of church life, one of the central ideas and metaphors was about the fact that Jesus had been victorious over death, it’s why I love the fact that different churches around the world, specifically Greek or other Dux churches, will say over and over again, on Easter or pass, Christ is risen from the dead.
Trample over death. By death. On those in the tombs bestowing life. This early metaphor was the idea that Jesus, when He looked defeated, only looked defeated, it only seemed that way, but what we were waiting for was the ultimate comeback story, it was like Muhammad Ali sat on the ropes for eight rounds against you free Fraser and then there’s that moment where he says Is that all you’ve got any starts punching back, it’s like my beloved Detroit Red Wings losing in 1996, then coming back and literally wiping the floor with the Colorado have large in 1997. It’s this idea that you haven’t seen this coming, the thing that looked like the end was not the end of the thing that looked like death was not death, the thing that looked like a grape was not a grave, it just simply… It just simply seemed that way, and for hundreds of years, this idea of Jesus as the victor of death was the thing that remains Central. This is a picture of Jesus standing on the gates of hell in His resurrection, in one hand holds a U. In the other hand, he holds e symbol symbolically, every single one of us and says, death does not affect you in the same weight anymore, that is the stark claim of resurrection, there is new life offered.
This is an unknown writer to a group called the Hebrews, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by their death, by His death, He might break the power of him holds the power of death, that is the devil And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. This is Paul again to the same church and… Wrong, but the gift is not like the trespass, for if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to many. If you’re a child and you’ve never ready, get your parents to read The Chronicles of Narnia with you, this is the lion Aslan you can watch the movie if you want, it’s not as good, but… The book is the key. This is a abelian who represents Jesus in this allegory, the which would have known that when a willing victim had committed no, rectory was killed in a trade set, the table would crack and death itself would start working backwards. Think about my friend, think about your own hearts and think about that cripples know, please know.
Could death please work backwards, the resurrection is the promise that one day death will indeed work backwards for hundreds and thousands of years, that was the central metaphor of the Church, Christ is victorious of the over-death and when you in your grief and Ian, a grief place flowers on a tomb and watch them. Well, we’re speaking to the idea that one day those flowers might take root in the ground, that a garden may shoot up from a grave, that new life will be possible in the face of that, that’s the ridiculous audacious claim of the Christian church for hundreds of years. Resurrection says that The worst thing isn’t the last thing about the world, it’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best thing, it’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock bottom west of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last best thing is the laughing deep in the heart of the saints, sometimes our hearts even yes, you are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes, you are healed. All is well, the story of resurrection is the one day that in the midst of this brokenness in the world, one day will gather together in resurrection and we will live about it together.
The idea of the early church writers was not that Jesus had given us new freedom from past gets, not that he had just given us new life in this continual present, but there was this hope in the future that was transformative, it was centered around all together the idea that God is alive and He is loose in the world. And that might change everything. What does this mean? Whether you are stuck in the past, whether you feel broken in the present or you are fearful of the future, the invitation of resurrection is into this story, it is not the idea that sad stories have good endings, it’s the idea that sad stories with Jesus and His resurrection, have the possibility of new beginnings. Can you believe this? That’s what we’re invited into the sister, the possibility, this Jesus took a grave and he turned it into a God that is worth celebrating.