Summary: There is a difference between watching a game and playing the game. We are called to be a playing church
The Living Word Theater in Cambridge, has been sharing the story of the passion for as long as I can remember. There unfolding before your eyes the Gospel comes to life. Each night Pete Hampton portrays Christ. Each night he is crucified in the big finale. It can be a very moving experience.
In Orlando Florida, there is a theme park there in the midst of Disney World, called The Holy land Experience. Where the last Day few days of Christ are again portrayed but here patrons are not just spectators, but actually part of the crowd as events are taking place shouting “Hosanna to Crucify Him!”
Seeing the Gospel unfold around you and participating in the events are a different experience from just reading or hearing about it. Standing in a live nativity is an entire different experience than looking at one on the altar.
The closest thing I can think of is the difference between watching a baseball game and playing a baseball game. Although the events are exactly the same, the experience is entirely different.
This morning, I cannot transport all of us to Florida nor do we have a star trek like holideck. However, God has given each of us the ability to imagine. So I would like to for a few moments as you to close your eyes and imagine you are in the Bible Story this morning. (I know this is dangerous. However, this is not sunrise. You should all be rested and able to close your eyes for a few minutes without falling asleep.)
Take a moment and imagine what is happening. What are the sounds? How would you feel as these events unfolded around you. It has been a long and terrible week. And you have spent the night before mulling over all the events that lead to the execution of your friend and teacher. And you are wondering, what else could possibly go wrong. Exhausted and in a great hurry you were able to take your Friend and teacher’s body off the cross and stick him in a borrowed tomb. Now finally after the Sabbath, the body can finally be taken care of properly . But if it’s to be done, you are going to have to do it.
John 20 1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. You wonder what else could happen and now it does. What do you do? You run to get help. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." With disbelief you hear these words. No. they must be kidding. Not this! Come on! No way! You have to go see for yourself. She must have made a mystake.3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Now what? What can you do? Could it be a trap to catch His followers? You can’t go to the authorities. Your wanted! There is nothing to do but go home. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
Think for a moment, have you ever been so distraught that the world seems to collapse around you. That your mind just sort of shuts down. And while things happen around you, you’re too numb to recognize it. This was Mary. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."