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Open for Business – JUMC – Easter 20110424

Colossians 3:1-4 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Matthew 28:1-10 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Jeremiah 31:1-6 At that time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus says the LORD: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, 3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 5 Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. 6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.”

The Opened tomb is our way in, into the heart and relationship God

Recognition of Jesus through view of grief… Loss of self

An opened door is a possibility..

  • Graduates are completing school work that will open a new door in their lives.
  • New sweethearts begin a fresh relationship that opens a new door into a shared life together.
  • New business owners start with the possibilities of what might be walking in faith through a new door.
  • Others just stand at the same door and almost decide to open it.

Mary from Magdala and the other mysterious Mary go expecting to find a closed door. 

Through event beyond their own power and control, an earthquake, the door is opened for them.

How much time, energy, money and effort is used with inaction or apathy?

It would seem that if we are doing nothing that nothing is lost or expended.

How many tomatoes will your garden have if you plant none?

How much will you have saved for a time of crisis if you spend all you have?

How many friends will be there for you if you are not a gracious friend who loves unconditionally?

How much does it cost to wait, when people are hungry today? Does it matter if we can’t see them?

What if the two Marys had not gone to the tomb, what would they have missed?

Bottom line, even a crisis / earth quake is an opened door.

  • Would we feel compelled to reach out to families in Japan, Hati, or even the Gulf coast if it were not from some great force that moves us and opens that door?
  • The economic crash is not one person’s fault. There are tipping points that individuals could have changed and can change.. but it is a reality brought upon us, and it is an opportunity for faith and faithfulness instead of despair and fear.
  • It’s not what I would do if millions were my lot, its what I will do with the dollar that I’ve got.

Take littlest step away from the tomb, toward that world

Mary and Mary, (sounds like a law firm) took their own witness, their own message of the risen lord, power, gift, life, of God with us.. to the world. [These two women were the first to preach the resurrection: make sure you tell every Baptist that one.]

Door is not an escape, but a process in progress, (Argus – vigilant guardian)

The angel invites Mary to enter the door, to have faith, to see, to understand, to experience, to know.

When we are looking for a door to escape, we try to drink, eat, spend, talk, sleep, worry, save, ignore, or punch our way out. The doors Christ opens for us, are the doors our spirits are drawn to find.

This what we are the community of faith, the church are to be, “Open for Business”

We are Open for God’s Business.

We find our way into the empty tomb..

Being emptied of our brokenness and sin. (Cleaned our slate)

Being filled with the promises filled for us by God through Jesus

Walking through grief, hurt, loss, fear, disappointment, shame, rejection, even death, violent-unjust death…

That we turn toward the world with our own little steps

Sharing our own message of the rise Lord.

We are open for the business of sharing our faith with a hurting world.

The Easter Question for us is: What are you going to share?

Jesus saved me from intellectual affirmations, social acceptance and familial pleasing. What has Jesus done in your life? If nothing, have you asked him to, or is that door closed from our direction for a reason?

Jesus has given me family and friends who have loved be when I have not deserved to be loved.

Jesus shows me how to love folks I don’t want to learn to love.

Jesus touches my heart through neighbors right here at home and strangers around the world, reminding me of God’s presence and working.

God gives the foundation for living in the teachings of the Word.

God opens heaven and warns me of the hellish lonliness of not choosing to follow.

God sings to my spirit through hymns, praise, music, anthems and symphony and repetitive lyrics how much more I/we are with God

God’s Spirit reaches past language and economics, beyond history and culture to share power, love and hope in my life and in yours.

God’s Spirit breathes hope and life when I have given up or worn out.

Jesus lives so that John Brantley, most fully. Jesus lives for you too.

Easter is our Open for Business sign.. you are invited to come on in, empty yourself and be filled to live fully, even in a world that tries to close doors, close hearts and close minds.. we are open for Christ.

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