On Friday, we watched the Teacher become the Lesson, using the cross as a chalkboard for some and a digital whiteboard for others. On Saturday, we learned that even the silence speaks for God, that the dirt cannot cover God’s mouth. Today, we remember that even the grave is a womb in the hands of God, that You carry life everywhere.
I offer this prayer of deep gratitude to You, the God of the Resurrection.
God, You are inconceivable and unbelievable. We confess that only You can turn a grave into a pulpit. Angels stand on rocks to proclaim Your message: “He is not here; he is risen!”[i] Only You can create out of the nothingness of death, declaring, “Let there be resurrection!”[ii] You could not return to the earth because Divinity is not made of dirt.
Only You can turn grave clothes into pajamas. Only You can lay Your head down in a grave[iii] when Your disciples’ heads are shaking in disbelief and Your murders’ heads are shaking with satisfaction. Because they could not keep the Good God down!
What shall we say then? We declare that nothing is impossible for You.[iv] We submit our prayers for health and healing to the grave- robbing God. We give our cares to the God who winked at death. We take our grievances, our bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness to the God who had it all but did not return it. No “evil for evil” because You had none to give.[v]
Strip us of the grave clothes of inhibition, reticence and rigidity. Release us to worship You freely. Give us the tongues of angels to proclaim Your message and to sing Your praises, to celebrate Your victory in all things and for all time.
Remind us as we worship that the presence of darkness is not stronger than the promise of Light. Train us to be death- defying even as we experience defeat. Teach our mouths to sing songs of rejoicing without social consensus or crowd participation, trusting that Your plan is foolproof.
And when we feel that You are being buried by cynicism, overwhelming doubt, social pressure and political maneuvering, let us not lock ourselves behind closed doors or return to life as we knew it before we met you. Let us not hide from the grave but run to it, seeking a risen Lord and not a dead Teacher.
Give us inconceivable and unbelievable faith as we worship. In the name of the Resurrection, Jesus the Christ, I pray. Amen.
[i] Matthew 28.6
[ii] It is my assumption that as in the creation story recorded in Genesis, God is creating out of nothingness and darkness.
[iii] This is much like his response in the ship, recorded in Matthew 8.23-27 and Mark 4.35-41.
[iv] Matthew 19.26
[v] First Peter 3.9