Good morning everyone.
Christ is Risen!
He has Risen Indeed!

Here is today's Easter message from worship, where we had a nice turnout of many to celebrate the resurrection.
We also had special music from our new Bell Choir this morning.
All was wonderful!

The Gospel reading for today was Mark 16: 1-8

Have a blessed Easter Day!

So as I popped up here from behind the pulpit with a clown nose on,…..
what was your first reaction?
I would guess it was mostly ‘surprise’ if not downright ‘shock’.
You probably never saw a pastor with a clown nose on, especially Easter morning.
What you probably expected was pretty much the norm for Easter service.

And so you’d have a right to be surprised and even shocked.
Since it is not something that you were expecting, it was a complete surprise to you.
Hopefully….. by the end of this morning, the idea of surprise will make sense here.

When the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, they expected the norm.
They expected a dead body that probably smelled a bit after three days.
The anointing was partly done our of honor, but also done to cover up the smell.
Then the body could be displayed for a time like a wake for friends and family.
After that, Jesus’ body would have received a proper burial in the ground.
The tomb was just a temporary holding place until all that could happen.

So as the women approached the tomb, they had the normal expectations.
They were about practical matters and even wondering who’d move the large stone.
And yet, when they arrived,…. they were surprised and even shocked.
Surprised that Jesus was gone and shocked to see an angel sitting there instead.

But the angel said to them “Don’t be alarmed.  He has been raise; he is not here”.
The angel then said “go and tell the others and Peter”.
Then, the women left, feeling amazed as well as afraid from their surprise/shock.

You see, you were surprised, even amazed to see the pastor with a clown nose today.
To see your pastor like that, especially for Easter morning’s sermon, was not expected.
But I did this to make a very simple but clear point on what this resurrection means.
Although it also made us laugh a little bit,…. 
more importantly it gave a sense of how surprised those women felt that morning (although they were scared and not laughing)

Surprised even more than you were at what God did in Jesus that Easter morning.
Surprised in that It was not anything that they ever would have imagined or anticipated.
Surprised that God could do such an unexpectedly and amazingly powerful thing.

And so here we are, some 2,000 years later, and the concept of resurrection is a given.
For us today this idea of resurrection is not a surprise but accepted within the faith.
We all believe that, at the time of death, God will resurrect us and others that we love.
And so, on that last day, we won’t be as amazed as those women were at the tomb.

And yet, we sell the surprise factor short if we only focus on resurrection the last day.
Because what the bible teaches us constantly is that resurrections happen every day!
The idea of God’s restoration happens all the time in daily events other than with death.

It happens when we fall into unfortunate or bad situations that happen to us.
Then God surprises us with some resurrection rescue from that situation.
It happens when people we care about betray, or belittle, us or abandon us.
Then God surprises us with resurrection restoration as others step in to help.
It happens when we suffer, either emotionally or physically from maladies.
Then God surprises us with restoration in healing of body or with love from others.
It happens when we are abused and humiliated and brought to our lowest point.
God surprises us with resurrection lifting us from where we thought we’d never escape.
Each and every day, God is doing things like what happened on that Easter morn.
About bringing good out of bad, restoration out of destruction, and life out of death

God surprised Jesus’s followers and then the world, with the restoration that morning.
Just the same way,…God surprises us,.. with the sorts of resurrections that we long for.
Restorations in personal and daily life that are precursors for the final resurrection.

So expect to be surprised and don’t be amazed or shocked when God does so.
When God moves in your life to restore and bring new life to our bad situations.
It’s what God did then on that Sunday morning with Jesus.
It’s what God will do for us on our last day on earth.
But its also what God, in his love, does for us every day of our lives, here and now.