DAY ONE: REBIRTH
Luke 24:1-12 (NRSV)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
And then on this one glorious morning, everything changes! Jesus has risen from the dead! He is alive! He is alive forever! Now we will be, too! There is new life all around!
We have so much to celebrate. Jesus’ resurrection is so much more than our eternal life after we die. His resurrection assures us that this is Day One of a brand new beginning- here and now! God has dramatically shown us through Jesus that God overcomes EVERYTHING. Even death. We no longer have any reason to fear any hardship this world may give us. We are gloriously resurrected with each new morning.
Release would be another good word for today. Jesus is totally free- released from his burial clothing, released from the stone that sealed him in, released from the dark tomb, and released from death! Jesus has been released to live in new freedom. Think of how his release is also our freedom! Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we are released from all of our limited confines of life.
Jesus’ resurrection releases us from…
The grave clothes that bind and suffocate us. Are there parts of your life that feel binding or suffocating? Jesus can help free us from the wrappings and the trappings of those ways of living- perhaps habits, routines, traditions, expectations, or obligations- that are no longer practical, useful, or enjoyable.
The stony obstacles that block our way. Are there hurdles that have been blocking your progress? What is preventing you from moving forward? Jesus can free us from being immobilized by offering us alternate routes, helping us to remove the obstacles that are before us, and sometimes showing us the obstacles within us- such as stubbornness, insecurity, lack of innovation, or lack of insight.
The dark tomb that confines us. Are there limitations or uncertainties that confine you in darkness? In what way do you feel boxed in, unable to see the light? What parts of your soul are darkened with despair, worry, or sorrow? Jesus can free us from our own imprisonment by opening new doors, shining his light into our darkness, and revealing our way out.
The deaths that stand before us. What losses or deaths do you fear most? Jesus can free us from our fears because he has overcome the world. He has overcome death. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39), and we can face death directly, without fear. Jesus says to death and loss, “You have no say in this. You have no power over us. We are passing you by.”
It IS a new day. Because of this wonderful Resurrection of Jesus, we are given brand new beginnings with every new day, every new moment. We are FREE; fully FREE! Can you feel the freedom? How will you live NOW? This is Day One of your new life. Thank Jesus. Thank God. And LIVE in Resurrected joy!
God of the Resurrection,
You have brought life out of death in the Resurrection of your Son, Jesus. You have brought us out of the dark tomb into the light of your everlasting love. THANK YOU! Our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude. Beginning with this new day- Day One- help us to live our lives fully free in Resurrected joy! Amen.