SERMON SERIES: “Opening the Way”
SERMON TITLE: “God’s Grand Opening”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 28:1-10
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 1, 2018 (Easter), at First UMC
A few nights ago, when I was watching the local news, one of the stories was about a new coffee shop that had just opened up in Park City on March 3. Lucky Ones Coffee is a Starbucks-style restaurant that employs disabled people. Some of their workers have Downs Syndrome. One employee featured in that news story had a condition that affected the left half of her body differently than the right half. She said she can work for a while, and then she needs to take a rest break. She said her boss doesn’t mind that because everyone there has some kind of challenge.
When I looked up the Lucky Ones Coffee shop online, I found their mission statement which says, “We want to create fulfilling jobs for individuals with disabilities [by] promoting acceptance, independence, [and] inspiration, as well as community inclusion.” I’ve never been a coffee drinker, and I rarely ever go to Park City. But that news story made me want to drive up there just so I could support their cause. I’d like to contribute to the successful grand opening of a business that gives opportunities and new life to those who are differently abled.
Grand opening—maybe that’s how it was for the earliest disciples on that first Easter morning. As the women approached Jesus’ tomb, they were sad and grieving. They were crippled by fears and uncertainty. They were experiencing a crisis of faith. The Gospel of John tells us that the male disciples were so disabled by Jesus’ crucifixion that they were shut-in behind locked doors. The kingdom of God they had dreamed about had been crucified with Jesus on the cross and sealed off by a huge stone. Yet, in spite of all that closing down of future hope, the women who dared to venture out discovered surprising good news. As they approached the tomb on that first Easter morning, the women’s hearts were cheered. Not only had God raised Jesus from the dead, but the tomb was opened wide so the women could see what had happened.
On this Easter morning in 2018, I invite you to think with me about what God’s grand opening meant for those first disciples and what it means for us today.