We Will With God’s Help

Easter Morning 2023 

Jesus said to Mary, “Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ 

We have our instructions. Do not hold on to me, do not cling to me….but go and tell. 

Jesus said, “Tell my siblings that I am going; I am leaving. I have to go and be with our Creator, and you who are staying here, you who will get the urge to cling to me, and instead, you have to Go, Tell, and Do.” 

We live in a world where we are told that politicians of all stripes will send us thoughts and prayers on the worst day or days of our lives. 

I was in the office of a congressman who was hearing the story of a young man’s death. Ethan and a friend were messing around, and the gun when off, and Ethan was killed. Ethan’s parents were talking to this congressman to back a bill for the safe storage of guns. 

The Congressman was not swayed by the conversation, and I was standing there in my black suit and collar; the Congressman turned to me and said, “Well, I guess you better pray harder if you want this to happen.” I am not one to be left speechless, but I was as he made his goodbyes and walked back to his office. 

I wish I were quick enough and not so gobsmacked as to say, “These are not the instructions that Jesus gave.” Jesus was very clear that we need to act in the world to bring about the kin-dom of god. 

Not to sit back and use our thoughts and prayers to duck our responsibility. 

Mary was not told to sit tight and think about all that she had seen that morning near that tomb. Mary was not told only to pray. She was told to do something. 

Thoughts and prayers are offered after every tragedy in this country. 

We are told really clearly by folks who profess a faith that it is what they have to offer this broken, broken world. 

When leaders behave in that way, then we all can slide into that reality as well; we say I will pray for you, and then…do you? 

As Episcopalians, we believe that when we pray, we are changed, so if we pray by name for those people who are hurt and wounded, how can we not want to change the way we act in the world? 

Today, the Resurrection tells us that God is here, and God’s love for us and Jesus opens up a reality where everything can be made new. Made new in a way that changes everything, God breaks into our time and space and brings life into a tomb where life has no business. 

Transformed, our brokenness can become so much more. We can hold our pain up so the unbearable becomes bearable. That is the work that is given to us. We have to hold up, we have to act, we have to be of service and turn ourselves towards that divine spark. 

Jesus is clear that he will be gone, and we must get busy changing the world. To bring life into dark places, to be present to the pain in the world, to work to that newness, to work to that hope. Go and tell, go and work. When you are asked to make any promise in the life of the church, 

In Baptism, 

In Marriage, 

In Confirmation,

In ordination, 

The answer is “I WILL with God’s help.”

Yet, we have to act into the gift, we have something new, and it is a handoff; we are given directions. I will serve the poor. 

I will fight to change how migrants are welcomed into this country 

I will work toward safety for children 

I will work for equitable housing 

I will work for clean water 

I will work for a sustainable planet 

I will work for health care for all. 

“We will with God’s Help.”

You have your own list. What will you work for? 

And with all of it, “We will with God’s help.” 

God has broken into the world this morning; we must claim and act on it. 

God can transform an empty, dusty tomb devoid of life and turn it into a symbol of beauty, hope, and salvation. 

Once, we were dead in our sinfulness. God has transformed it so we can be alive, in Christ, to all the power, newness, and possibility that is God. God transforms it so we may know we are loved more than anything. Out of that love, we have work to do. We have the work of transformation so that all of us have a share in the love of God, the safety of community, and a world that will surprise us.