Roll away the stone

from Easter 2016

-We who follow Jesus understand that being a disciple does not protect us from the harsh realities of the world in which we live. We are part of THIS world and we are called not to abandon it, but to transform it into the kind of world God envisions for all of God’s creatures. When I read this passage, it reminds me of how much a comfort it is to be in the presence of other followers each week when I attend Sunday school and worship at my local church. When I am there each Lord’s day, I feel the power of the vision John describes when I gather with the good Methodist people in my community. We may not be dressed in white robes, but we sing praises to God; and for a short period of time, we ARE set free from the ordeals of the week through which we have just come. When we gather as a community of faith to worship God in Jesus Christ, when we celebrate the sacraments together and sing and pray and give voice to our joys and concerns, there is a sense of real relief. We are uplifted, nourished, and strengthened for the week ahead. And we feel the promise of God that one day we WILL be free from the suffering we might be experiencing today. We hear the reassurance that no matter what the present circumstances, there is a spring from which flows the water of life, and there is a God who loves us and cares for us, a God who will wipe away every tear that falls from our eyes.

Dwelling in the kingdom of God means that we hold the visions and promises given to us through Scripture before us at all times and in all places. From these words and pictures we find hope and strength to carry on and do the work of ministry, relieving suffering when we can, caring for God’s creation and all that dwells within it while we wait for God’s kingdom to come and reign on this earth forevermore.

The Easter Season the time of rebirth is a time to remember the saints who have walked before us.

Benediction=Let us not forget who makes us to lie down in green pastures and leads us beside the still waters and restores our souls. Let us not forget that it is truly the Lord who is our shepherd, and that we should not wait until we are ready to be put in our graves to let those words be recited over our names. So one more time Psalm 23 Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is the good shepherd.  It is God who has made us and not we ourselves.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.     He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.[a]
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely[d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord forever.[g

Go in peace your faith has made you whole