I would imagine if we had a congregational poll that asked the question, “Who has sung Christ the Lord is Risen Today on Easter Sunday, the response would be almost unanimous with people saying, “Yes, I have sung Christ the Lord is Risen Today on Easter Sunday.
I would imagine that if we had a poll of people worshiping this morning and asked the question, “Is this the first time you have sung Christ the Lord is Risen Today on July 31,” the response would be almost unanimous with people saying, “Yes, I had never sung Christ the Lord is Risen Today on July 31.
As Christians, we tend to think the acknowledgement of our Lord’s resurrection as an “Easter only” event. Easter is a day for festive worship and fuller than normal sanctuaries as we affirm the eternal truth of God’s victorious love. Easter is also the day to welcome persons who may not be as regular in their worship attendance.
I remember my first Easter at my first appointment following graduation from seminary. I was attempting to be witty as I thanked people for being present at worship and remarked about how Jesus healed people of what the King James Version defined as “divers diseases.” I then asked the congregation if they knew what “divers diseases” were and answered my own question with the statement that people with “divers diseases” dive into church on Easter Sunday and dive out of church on the Sunday after Easter. I then told the congregation that Jesus could heal us of “divers diseases” if we came back to worship on the Sunday after Easter.
My attempt at wittiness was not received well and did not do much for attendance on the following Sunday. I should have known better and followed the advice given to a preacher in Gloria Naylor’s novel, Mama Day. Shortly after the pastor’s arrival at a new church, the pastor attempted to stop a local custom dear to the people. Mama Day assessed the preacher’s action with this advice, “When you open your mouth too much, something stupid bound to come out.”
This morning, I do not want to open my mouth too much, so I shall simply state the truth of our faith as Christians that we proclaim every time we worship, “Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!”
People of faith in Jesus proclaim this truth on Easter Sunday and the Sunday after. We proclaim this truth on July 31, 2022. We proclaim this truth every day in how we choose to live. The apostle Paul proclaimed this truth in his letter to the Colossians when he wrote, “if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
The truth of our faith in Jesus is that Christ’s resurrection is not only observed on Easter Sunday. Every Sunday is Easter Sunday as, every day, we live in the truth of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
In a sermon Johnny Ray Youngblood, pastor of St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, whose story Samuel Freedman tells in his book Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church (Harper Perennial, 1994) says, “Every time I see a man put down his bottle, there’s a resurrection goin’ on. Every time I see a man go back to school, there’s a resurrection goin’ on. Every time I see a man hug his son, there’s a resurrection goin’ on.”
Every day we live our lives with faith in the crucified and risen Christ, a resurrection is happening. Every day we live our lives with faith in Jesus, there is a resurrection. That is why Paul wrote, “if then you have been raised with Christ.” Paul was proclaiming the truth that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a present tense experience of faith. To understand the power of the resurrection, Paul also states that we must “seek the things that are above, where Christ is.”
To live in the promise of the resurrection, you must allow your vision to be focused in the right direction upon Jesus. Your faith must proclaim the presence of the living Lord through a love that has the power to transform the reality of your world.
Marva J. Dawn wrote this Easter poem as a present for a family in Seattle who had befriended her. It is entitled, With Gratitude.”
You said, “Call us, any time you need us,” and I felt at home in your words.
I poured out my grief, and you hugged me.
I told you my fears, and you prayed that I would sleep protected,
I expressed my confusion, and you helped me sort out the parts.
I tried to face my ugly self, and you kept on caring.
I gave you my pain, and you gave me a kiss.
How can I thank you?
How do I express this awareness that I have found a home in your love, that I’ve been adopted by your grace?
It’s like the Resurrection, promising life and healing and hilarity.
It’s just that Easter is incarnated in your care.
Marva J. Dawn, The Hilarity of Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans 1992), 215-216.
Today is July 31, 2022. It is time to live in the present promise of the resurrection. It is time to be raised with Christ as we set our minds on the things that are above. For Christ the Lord is risen. Christ the Lord is risen, indeed!
Christ Is Risen
by Pastor Marc Brown
July 31, 2022
Accompanying Scriptures: Colossians 3:1-4
Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for July 31, 2021
Scripture Lesson Colossians 3:1-4
The Good News “Christ Is Risen”
Music “We Fall Down” by Chirs Tomlin
Closing Music “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” arr. Penny Rodriguez