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The Word Is God - April 17, 2022

John 1:1-5, 14, 19:30b, 20:1-18To view, this service you can follow the link to our YouTube page: Worship Service for Sunday, April 17

The Gospel of John has the resurrection story with which many of us are most familiar. Yet John is the one Gospel where there is no nativity story. The Gospel begins with these words:


In the beginning, was the Word

and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
. . .
The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.

In his life and ministry Jesus, as the Word of God, taught using words. Jesus also taught by actions which became living words to those who would learn and live by them.

From the cross, on the day he was crucified, the last words were spoken:
Jesus said, “It is finished.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life. (19:30b)

At that moment it appeared the work of God through the Word of God was ended. Done. Complete. Silenced.

Appearances can be deceiving.

If you turn the page to John, Chapter 20:
Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its place. Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.
Jesus appears to Mary
Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

I want us to look at this picture. It is from a picture book by Joel Schoon-Talis called “40:The Gospels.” It is an image that matches today’s Easter message. The author has created this work to carry several perspectives in each story. Notice how Jesus is drawn more human-like and with more precise brush strokes. The swallowtail in the sky, the monarch butterfly each are more realistic than other parts of the picture. Mary on the other hand is drawn from a childlike perspective with the stiff stick-like arms and the hands with the funny fingers most of us draw at one time or another. The tomb is there with an open entryway, and the two angels are seated on the burial stone where Jesus’s body had been.

In the upper left-hand corner, written over the purple color of the hillside tomb the author has written a child-like description of the scene depicted. You can’t read it so let me do that for us.

 

“After all that talk of laying his life down for his sheep that’s exactly what Jesus did. (Wich tells you a lot about God.) But then on Easter Jesus wasn’t ded anymore! (Wich tells you a lot about God too probably.) He snuck up on his good frend Mary in the garden. He just started talking to her. He could of at leest sed, “Surprize!” or “Ta Da!” or sumthing.” Joel Schoon-Talis, 40: The Gospels

 

One simple word. “Mary.”

That’s all it took. We know it convinced Mary that the word of God had NOT been silenced. Unlike the disciples who left without encountering Jesus and returned with no explanation or proof of what had happened, when Mary left, she left to tell others.

This picture, this storyline is so like God, so like Jesus. To just walk up and start talking to any one of us.

 

“It’s been a hard path you’ve walked lately. I know because I walked those paths too.”
SURPRISE! I’m still here walking with you. And I will be with you as long as you are on this path. “I’ve got your back, and your front, both sides, overhead and underneath. We’ve got this.”

“TA-DA! I see all you do every day to make life better for others. I am so glad you are there. But I also see when you are discouraged because the work never ends. I’m here and I will hold you up. We’ve got this.”

“My child, there is no ‘ta da’ or ‘surprise’ that will take away your grief. Loss and sorrow are a pathway none of us can escape. From the moment of creation, it was never meant that you would live forever. I see the emptiness in your heart. I am here and I will stay here, present in your tears, and even in your laughter as you walk the path of grief and remembrance. We’ve got this.”

 

The Word of God was not silenced on the cross. Death had no victory, no triumph that day. The death of Jesus was simply a temporary 3-day hush at one point in time. We go from death on Friday, through a day of silence on Saturday, but today, on the day of resurrection we hear the Word of God speak to each of us again. Loud and clear, the Word of God is not silenced.

The Word of God, Jesus, in all kinds of bits and pieces of words and melodies and songs is still here today.

Before the sermon, we sang the story of Mary in the Garden:
“. . . the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
“He speaks and the sound of his voice, is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that he gave to me Within my heart is ringing.
“I’d stay in the garden with him though the night around me is falling,
But he bids me go; through the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.
And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am His own; . . .”

This isn’t an individualistic statement made only to Mary or to any one of us. Rather it is a personal promise to everyone who needs solace and consolation, or the stamina to carry on in the middle of the fight for justice as God demands. It is the statement of a promise that the Word of God cannot be silenced. God’s voice, God’s call, God’s claim on our lives, our energies, and our compassion can never be silenced by all of the pain, hatred, or evil in the world. The Word of God that could not be silenced on the cross, will not be silent in our lives and our world.

The Word of God, the Love of God that triumphed over the wrong done on Friday is alive and speaking out loud on Sunday.

The Word of God lives on in us. The promise of the Resurrection is that God is with us . . . yesterday, today, and tomorrow. No matter what happens, God’s word will not and cannot be silenced. It lives on in each of us, today and every tomorrow. Now, it is our Word to hear, to incorporate into our beings, and to live out so that others may hear the Word as well.

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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