SERMON TITLE: “Opening the Way: God’s Grand Opening”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 28:1-10
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 4, 2021 (Easter) at First UMC
I live on the east bench above Harrison Blvd. Just a few blocks down the hill from our house is Horace Mann Elementary. That school, which was constructed in 1954, will be torn down at the end of the academic year. The old building, with its leaky roof, has served generations of students and is now ready to be put to rest. But death will not have the final say at that location just east of 9th and Harrison. On the same property, R & O Construction Company is raising up a much-taller and more-colorful East Ridge Elementary. Instead of a leaky roof, the new school will have solar panels on top. The East Ridge building, which is larger and will be able to educate more children, is scheduled to open before the 2021 school year begins. If COVID-19 doesn’t prevent it, I’m hoping the administration will host some kind of grand opening to let the public see what the school will be like for the next generation of students.
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. Their teacher and Lord had been killed. His body was dead. The women were crippled by fears and uncertainty. They were experiencing a crisis of faith. The kingdom of God that they had dreamed about had been crucified with Jesus on the cross and sealed by a huge stone. The future they wanted was closed off and shut down. Yet, the women who took their burial spices to the tomb that morning 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 had been opened wide so the women could see what had happened.
On this Easter morning in 2021, I invite you to think with me about this story from Matthew 28. Let’s consider what God’s grand opening meant for those first disciples and what it means for us today.