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April 21, 2019, 5:00 PM

Find Your Alleluia - Easter Sunday Sermon 2019


Often, when I’m trying to do homework, I turn on the television as background noise. Silence is not conducive to concentration – at least for me. I was trying to do homework a few weeks ago with some random television station on and found my foot tapping to a song playing in the background of a commercial. By the time I looked up from the book I was trying to read, however, the song was over.

 

The next time I heard this toe-tapping song, I was actually paying attention to the television. I saw a commercial for a cruise company that featured kids going down water slides and adults dancing the night away. At that point, I could only hear the catchy beat to the song, but no words.

 

The third time the cruise company commercial came on, I finally caught the words to this very catchy song. Now, don’t worry – I’m not going to sing it to you, but the singer proclaimed, “I think I finally found my Alleluia.” Honestly, hearing “I finally found my Alleluia” against pictures of water slides and dancing seemed, well, wrong.

 

Not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying water slides or dancing, of course. But is this where we find our Alleluia? On a cruise ship? On a water slide? On the dance floor?

 

Throughout the season of Lent, for forty days plus Sundays, our Alleluias have been buried. We kept our Alleluias hidden during Lent as we maintained a holy focus on preparing our hearts and souls for the great events of Holy Week. Our Alleluias have remained unspoken and unsung as we prayed, fasted, and gave generously throughout the season of Lent.

 

But, we find our Alleluias again this morning as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Our Alleluias are resurrected. Our Alleluias come out of hiding, like the flowers that have been hiding in the soil all winter. Our Alleluias are finally free to be spoken and sung aloud.

 

We find our Alleluia – not on a cruise ship, not on a water slide, not on a dance floor, but at an empty tomb. We find our Alleluia with Mary Magdalene who came to the tomb to seek her friend, her beloved, her Savior – hoping only to anoint Jesus’ body. We find our Alleluia with the beloved disciple and Peter who ran to the tomb to figure out Mary Magdalene’s news – what did she mean, the tomb is empty? We find our Alleluia with the angels in the empty tomb – angels who wonder why Mary Magdalene is crying.

 

We find our Alleluia with Mary Magdalene who, in her distress, mistakes Jesus for the gardener. We find our Alleluia with Mary Magdalene whose heart is saved and whose life is changed when she hears Jesus say her name. We find our Alleluia with Mary Magdalene as she turns and sees the face of the risen Savior. We find our Alleluia – not on a cruise ship, not on a water slide, not on a dance floor, but at an empty tomb.

 

With Mary Magdalene, we cry from the depths of our heart, “Rabbouni! My Teacher! My Savior!” As Mary Magdalene recognizes the risen Christ and finds her Alleluia, we recognize the risen Christ and find our Alleluia, too.

 

Not only do we find our Alleluia, we also find our courage – just like Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene runs back to the disciples twice: once to proclaim the missing body and again to proclaim the resurrection. Once to express her sorrow, again to express her joy. Once to cry tears of confusion, again to cry tears of fulfillment. Once to mourn, again to be the first evangelist – the first teller of the great Good News of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Now, unless someone figures out time travel, we will not find ourselves standing at the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. Instead, we find ourselves standing at the empty tomb in 2019. The people of today’s world need the good news of Christ’s resurrection just as much as the people of Jesus’ time – if not more.

 

If, indeed, we find our Alleluia at the empty tomb on this Easter morning, we are encouraged to share that Alleluia with other people in this hurting world. If, indeed, we find our Alleluia at the empty tomb on this Easter morning, we are encouraged to be like Mary Magdalene and run into the world, sharing news of Christ’s resurrection. If, indeed, we find our Alleluia at the empty tomb on this Easter morning, we are encouraged to share that Alleluia with those in need of an Alleluia in their lives.

 

It seems that so many people try to find their Alleluias on cruise ships, on water slides, on dance floors – on so many things that are temporary. As Christians, our faith is based on things that are permanent – things like the ever-empty tomb of Christ. May we find our Alleluia there – on this Easter morning and every day of our lives. Amen.


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