How did you come to faith?
Who are the main characters in your story of conversion?
What changed when you turned your life towards God?
When did you come to faith, and where?
…Each one of us has a very particular story about how we got here…not just ‘here’ physically this morning…but also “here” in the spiritual sense; wherever “here” happens to be for anyone in this room.
Some of us can’t remember a time when we didn’t believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Maybe you were fortunate enough to be raised in church, and so you’ve had access to bible stories and to a supportive community of faith that helped it all make sense.
Maybe it’s a natural progression for you to be here, Sunday after Sunday, worshipping God and seeking to continue those habits that were formed in you early in life.
For others of us, the whole thing is relatively new.
Maybe your life started out somewhat differently than I just described, and you’ve come to value church and God and faith in ways that you never thought you would, perhaps because of circumstances you never thought would happen.
For still others of us, we’re not even sure where it is we’re “at” this morning.
Maybe church has been a place that’s kicked you when you were down, and so you wrote it off for awhile and are just now beginning to wonder if just maybe you’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater…so you might be taking just a few tentative steps back, testing the waters before giving it your all.
And maybe for some of us, we’re not even sure what we believe or think or understand about ourselves…much less God, or Jesus, or any of this Spiritual stuff.
We are a diverse group with broad experiences when it comes to expressing our faith, and our doubts, and our questions.
We are conservative and we are liberal.
We are rich and we are poor.
We are powerful and we are weak.
We are outspoken, and we are reserved.
We believe and we doubt and we question; my goodness how we question!
But like those first disciples who came together behind the trail that Christ blazed here upon the earth,
we do have this Easter story in common.
This Unbelievable Easter story.
And just like Peter and “the disciple whom Jesus Loved”, (who many think was probably John)…we too have only heard this unbelievable news from someone else.
They heard it from their trusted friend Mary; who had gone to the tomb and seen the stone rolled away.
Who did you hear it from?
And what compelled you to believe this unbelievable tale?
…Peter and John run to the tomb to see this for themselves; not because they don’t believe Mary; but exactly because they believe her so much!
This is worth hearing and reflecting on this week.
The very first time the gospel was shared…the full gospel…the very first time someone had experienced the resurrection of Jesus and tried to explain it to their friends…it was miscommunicated, right?
Mary jumps the gun when she sees the stone rolled away, she assumes she knows what happened, and she runs to tell the others! “They took his body!”
She had every reason to assume this, coming and seeing the stone rolled away.
I’m not faulting Mary…I just want to make the point that she didn’t have the full story.
Yet she didn’t let that stop her from spreading the news about what she did understand…even though she was technically ‘wrong’.
So don’t be afraid to speak about God…especially to the people who love you and know you best. You don’t have to have all your facts exactly right.
Just speak honestly.
…Now, back to the guys. They run to the tomb to see for themselves; not because they didn’t believe Mary…but rather because they believed her story to the point of acting on it.
Their belief compelled them to seek better understanding.
And that chain of events has been unfolding ever since the resurrection!
Nobody but God has the whole picture of what happened on Easter morning so many years ago.
Nobody but God can really understand the full meaning of an empty tomb…of a savior who defeats death…of this resurrection gift that we’ve been given.
Nobody has a corner on the Truth.
But we do have faith, and we do have each other.
For Christ is Risen.
He is risen, indeed.