DATE: 20April2014
TO: Manatial de Gracia
TITLE: Where Do We Go From Here?

Welcome: I want to share a story with you that started 40 days and 6 Sundays ago. On the last Sunday before the Season of Lent began, I was invited to visit a church in Massachusetts that was going to have it’s first ever Mardi Gra Service. If any of you have ever been to or heard of Mardi Gra you know that it is all about the party! And if you know me you know that I am always up for a great party!! So I went.

It was an amazing Sunday service, where we (the congregation) was invited to be active in worship, effervescent, effusive. We were especially invited to use ALLELUIA, which means Praise Yahweh. Some of us learned that the word ALLELIA is traditionally a joyous term of worship used by choirs of angels as they worship in heaven…

But lent is a time when we (once more) go through a spiritual journey towards Christ’s coming and so we remove the Alleluia because we are not worshipping with the angels, instead we acknowledge our sins and practice repenting that one day soon we may once more worship God!

The service ended with each of us holding a paper with the word Alleluia. We were invited to sing that word together one last time before we said good bye to it together, and then one at a time, as we dropped our papers into a box we gave up “ALLELUIA” for lent. We were reminded that the word would return when Jesus’ tomb was found empty.

And today is that day. Today we bring the Alleluia back to church as we joyfully (re)discover the risen Christ. As we remember that Jesus is not dead, as we realize that he has done all that he came to do, we joyfully join the angels in shouting Alleluia. So today I ask you to freely shout alleluia!!

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Gospel Reading Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Si ustedes, pues, han resucitado con Cristo, busquen las cosas de arriba, donde está Cristo sentado a la diestra de Dios. Pongan la mira (la mente) en las cosas de arriba, no en las de la tierra. Porque ustedes han muerto, y su vida está escondida con Cristo en Dios. Cuando Cristo, nuestra vida, sea manifestado, entonces ustedes también serán manifestados con El en gloria.

Modern Interpretation Where Do We Go From Here (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical)
Where do we go from here. The battle’s done, And we kinda won. So we sound our victory cheer. Where do we go from here? Why is the path unclear, When we know home is near. Understand we’ll go hand in hand, But we’ll walk alone in fear. (Tell me) Tell me where do we go from here. When does the end appear, When do the trumpets cheer? The curtain’s close, on a kiss God knows, We can tell the end is near… Where do we go from here?

¿A dónde vamos desde aquí? La batalla termina, Y un poco ganó. Así sonamos nuestra alegría victoria. ¿A dónde vamos desde aquí. ¿Por qué es el camino claro, Cuando sabemos casa está cerca. Entendemos que iremos de la mano, Pero vamos a caminar solo en el miedo. (Dime) Dime ¿hacia dónde vamos desde aquí. Cuando aparece al final, ¿Cuándo se animan las trompetas. Cerca de la cortina, en un beso de Dios sabe, Podemos decir el final está cerca … ¿A dónde vamos desde aquí.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Alleluia!! Happy Sunday church! Happy Easter Sunday! Joyous season!!

This week we celebrated Holy Week, some of us who come from more formal traditions have celebrated:

Monday-Jesus’ prepares (John 12:1-11)
Tuesday-Jesus’ Purpose (John 12: 20-36)
Wednesday-Acknowledges his betrayer at the table (John 13:21-32)
Maundy Thursday-Foot Washing Service (John 13:1-17, 31b-35)
Good Friday-Death (John 18:1-19:42)
Holy Saturday-His body disappears (Matthew 27:57-66)

Or, maybe we have celebrated The Seven Last Words of Christ:
1-“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34
2-“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 43
3-“Dear woman, here is your son.” John 19:26
4-“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Mark 15:34
5-“I am thirsty.” John 19:28
6-“It is finished!” John 19:30
7-“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” Luke 23:26

Let us pray…

We have spent time thinking and talking about each of these stories of who Jesus was…but according to the calendar, yesterday, Jesus rose. After having been buried, he rose from the dead. And even though today its all about Jesus’ return to the throne, I want to remind you of what happened at the cross…

The paintings we usually see of Jesus on the cross show three crosses on top of a hill, but that image never really made sense to me. See, Pontious as King, would not have allowed anything or anyone to be above him. Especially not criminals. I image that Pontious would have wanted to sit high enough up that he could REALLY LOOK DOWN ON THAT JESUS CHARACTER WHO PEOPLE CLAIMED WAS THE MESSAIAH.

Imagination (Acts 10:39b-40)
According to Acts 10, “they put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear.”

So let us return to that place that our sisters showed us as we walked through the museum of our imagination through the story of Jesus’ last days. Close your eyes and let’s imagine.

Jesus would have walked for a distance dragging a large cross, wearing a crown of thorns upon his head. His disciples (and even the apostles were no longer with him) except one. I am going to take creative license and say that as most people were jeering, throwing stones, and calling him names…his mother Mary (if she was anything like my mother) would have been as close to him as she could get…

trying to be strong and probably failing miserably.
Every indignation that he suffered, she suffered.

The Bible says that with her at this point were some women and the beloved disciple…

Now, many people rush to share the details of the beating and the humiliation that Jesus suffered. But I really want you to think about what would have been at the foot of that cross. We usually only talk about Mary, those women and that disciple. But at the foot of the cross there was so much more.

There was suffering
There was blood,
there was urine and feces,
there was vomit,
there were tears… and there was pain.

These were the remnants of a human who had been tortured and whose body had finally reached its end. “It is finished,” said Jesus. And at the foot of that cross was each of our sins, each of our issues, each of our failings and each of our stories.

Now why do I tell you this?

So often we rush through the human elements of death and suffering. We trivialize the hard things that happen and try to rush people straight to the joys. I just want us to remember the sorrows.

But today, is Easter Sunday. Today, Jesus is not in the tomb. The tomb is empty.

Are we Easter or Lenten People? (Matthew 28: 1-7)

This morning, as we arrive at church it is remembering all that stuff that has already happened. We enter the chapel to find an empty tomb.

28:1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it…For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men (today we would say, they fainted!)

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

But my people, I have a question for you?

Are we a Lenten People or are we an Easter People? Are we people who are somberly awaiting the end…that next time Jesus will return to take us home or are we a joyous people whose Messiah has departed? As I thought about it, we are both…this Eastertide, I invite you to think about what we are doing in this season of waiting for the second coming. I invite you to reflect on what God’s purpose is for you.

We are a joyful people, but we are also a reflective people. We will see him again!
If you turn to the back of the program, you will see an image. I invite you to reflect on this image for a few minutes.

Song: Where do we go from here from Buffy the Vampire Slayer