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Summary: This is a Easter sermon dealing with the pain of Good Friday its connection with the pain of Easter and the Joy of the Resurrected Christ.

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Easter moves us from Friday to Sunday, from death to new life.

Friday, in Christian reckoning, is a null-point wherein the power of God is defeated by the empire of force. But the church has found in that Friday shut-down the transformative work of God.

It is a Friday truth that suffering love has transformative power that the “executioners” never suspect. What I mean to say that it is the act of crucifixion of power that really show who Jesus is. It was not until the Church Lied on Jesus that The State was able to crucify him, it was not until the Good Jews on the time of Jesus who went to church and kept the Passover and prayed the prayers decided to conspire with the cradle to prison pipeline that morality and legality got mixed up.

Sunday follows Friday.

Sunday—Easter Sunday and all of the Easter Sundays to follow—exhibits the transformative power of God’s new life in the world. Yes I know we have come this morning to get our Easter Shout on, But the Challenge is that Easter is not all fun and Games that there is Pain in the middle of the Celebration. I tell you we need to think of Easter as more of a funeral celebration of Life then a Christmas Pageant.

We cannot escape the particularity of that surprise in that ancient moment when the Nails are pressed in to the hands and feet of the Savior, We can not escape the pain of seeing the salvation of the world lynched on a cross.

Let me see if I can explain, In the 1630s English Puritans represented their journey across the Atlantic to America as the exodus of a New Israel out of Old World slavery into a promised land of milk and honey. And through the centuries, the story Thanksgiving Story of the American Israel would serve as our nation’s most powerful and long-lasting myth.

But to black Americans the nation was not a New Israel but the old Egypt, condemned to sure destruction unless she let God’s people go.

The existence of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and racism contradicted the mythic identity of Americans as a chosen people. I

African-American Christianity has continuously confronted the nation with troubling questions about American exceptionalism.

Perhaps the most troubling was this: “If Christ came as the Suffering Servant, who resembled Him more, the master or the slave?”

Suffering-slave Christianity stood as a prophetic condemnation of America’s obsession with power, status, and possessions. African-American Christians perceived in American exceptionalism a dangerous tendency to turn the nation into an idol and Christianity into a clan religion.

In other words, it was clear that the Pain of Slavery and its legacy was to much to allow any real celebration. Any time someone tried to celebrate the Easter time of the American Society, there would be someone to remind him or her of the Good Friday of our Journey now. I challenged you that you can’t have Easter in any form without the recall of Good Friday.

Divine election brings not preeminence, elevation, and glory, but—as black Christians know all too well—humiliation, suffering, and rejection.

Chosenness, as reflected in the life of Jesus, led to a cross. Led to Good Friday and death, and the Pain of the Cross. Yes no matter how you look at it, to follow Christ hurts at the deepest levels and to be a community that follows Christ is to be in a state of Pain.

The lives of his disciples have been signed with that cross.

To be chosen, in this perspective, means joining company not with the powerful and the rich but with those who suffer: the outcast, the poor, and the despised.

In the world, but not of the world. These words capture the relationship of the Church to human society and culture. On the one hand, the incarnational character (Christ ness) of the Church establishes her in history, in this particular time and place and culture. On the other, the sacramental character ( the Cross) of the Church transcends time and space, making present another world, the kingdom of God, which is both here and now and yet still to come.

Because we are “not of the world,” Christians stand against culture when the values and behaviors of the culture contradict the living tradition of the Church. The Church has to take on the responsibility of the cross.

One key example can be seen in the life and ministry of Martin Luther King Jr.

King's firm insistence that the Christian church should participate in civil rights activities set him apart from politically conservative scriptural fundamentalists.

In 1940, he revealed his commitment to social gospel Christianity in an address on "the true mission of the Church" delivered to the Atlanta Missionary Baptist Association:

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