31

March 2024

Mar

You Are Looking for Jesus

You Are Looking for Jesus

Easter Sunday 2024, Year B

Easter Sunday is here. Easter Sunday comes with a lot of pressure—the pressure to bring our very best, to adorn the sanctuary in flowers and signs of new life, to preach an amazing sermon declaring the good news of the Resurrection, to sing our hearts out with songs of joy and new life.

Easter Sunday is here. Easter Sunday comes with a lot of pressure—the pressure to bring our very best, to adorn the sanctuary in flowers and signs of new life, to preach an amazing sermon declaring the good news of the Resurrection, to sing our hearts out with songs of joy and new life. Each congregation also has traditions surrounding Easter Sunday that reflect the diverse contexts and communities that gather in our local churches. And praise God for those traditions! They are markers of the years the congregation has gathered and celebrated the Risen Christ and the commitment we make to one another to live as Resurrection people.

So, live into your traditions. Sing the “Hallelujah Chorus!” Let the organist take it away with the resounding chorus of “He Lives!” Sing those extra choruses, as the praise band gives it their all. Let the children return the Alleluia to worship after its Lenten hiatus! Shout and declare with the Church gathered around the world, “He is risen! He is risen, indeed!” Let the exclamation marks go wild today because it is a day of excitement, joy, and abundance!

And, in the midst of the celebration, remember that the Resurrection is a surprise. Create space for awe at the rolled-away stone. Quiet the energy in the room long enough to share with the women in their shock and uncertainty and amazement at finding an angel where they expected to find Jesus. Make room for confession and repentance as we grapple with whether we’re ready to look for and follow the Risen Christ out of the tomb and into the world. This is the challenge of Easter when we let it be about the resurrection of God Incarnate and not God-as-I’d-like-God-to-be. It is easy to celebrate the salvation made possible in Christ when I can pretend that salvation doesn’t require me to do the things that got him crucified. It is harder to celebrate the Resurrection when it means I’ve been raised with Christ to be like Christ in a world that has proven it will marginalize, erase, and kill people who love as God loves.

So, what must we do so that our Easter Sunday worship is not a noisy gong or clanging symbol, but an expression of the Love that saves us? Look for Jesus. Really look for Jesus. Look for Jesus in the faces we welcome through our doors. Look for Jesus in our prayers for our neighbors across the street and around the world. Look for Jesus in the voices that join in singing the good news and in the creation that offers up flowers to remind us of the beauty of new life. Look for Jesus as we point ourselves toward the exit, ready to enter the world as Easter people. Look for Jesus and know that Jesus is already there, loving and teaching us how to love as followers of the Risen Christ.

Dr. Lisa Hancock, Director of Worship Arts Ministries, served as an organist and music minister in United Methodist congregations in the Northwest Texas and North Texas Annual Conferences, as well as the New Day Amani/Upendo house churches in Dallas. After receiving her Master of Sacred Music and Master of Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology, Lisa earned her PhD in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University wherein she researched and wrote on the doctrine of Christ, disability, and atonement.