Summary: A sermon for Easter Sunrise.
"Restoring the Garden"
The great dividing line in history, the moment when before turned into after, is not the BC and AD division...
...it is not even the page that separates the Old Testament from the New Testament.
The Great Dividing Line in History is Before the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and After the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!!!
With Christ's Resurrection, come new realities that change everything!!!
In the Gospels, one could say that the story of Jesus Christ begins and ends with swaddling clothes and burial linens.
But, if we were to consider the entire Bible and the history of civilization, one could say that the story of Jesus Christ and God's relationship with humankind begins and ends in a garden.
It's no coincidence that Jesus' tomb was in a garden.
Because in recognizing this fact, we are meant to remember that the entire story of the Bible begins in a garden: the garden of Eden.
And it was in the garden of Eden that the devil tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God, bringing sin, evil, death and a broken relationship with God into the world.
And ever since, humanity has been enslaved by self-interest, disobedience as well as by guilt and shame.
The first human, or the first Adam was a gardener.
But he fell, and because of his disobedience, he was forced out of the garden.
But in the garden where Jesus' tomb was located we see the reversal of what happened in the garden of Eden.
And that gets to the point as to why God had to come into this world as a human being.
In the Bible Jesus is called the Second Adam...
...which means that He came into the world to undo what the first Adam, or the first human being, messed up.
And Jesus died the death that we deserve because of original sin--in order that through faith in Christ, those who will believe can be lifted up or Resurrected with Jesus and never die.
Jesus is our atoning sacrifice.
Jesus is our forgiveness.
Jesus is our life.
On the first Easter morning the grave of this world turned into a garden with Jesus as the Tree of Life.
And all who eat from this Tree of Life shall never die!!!
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise to us that when she first looked at Him, Mary Magdalene thought that Jesus was a gardener.
For in many ways, that is exactly what Jesus is!!!
"Thinking he was the gardener," Mary replied, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him."
And then, "Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'"
John tells us that "She turned," which is another way of saying she was "converted," and that is when she recognized Him as Jesus Christ the Lord!!!
On this Easter morning, as we come together to worship the Lord of lords, and King of kings we are surrounded on all sides by homes with people in them.
Some are probably snoring.
Others may be sleeping off a nasty hangover.
Others might be surfing the web or reading the Sunday newspaper.
But what are they thinking about?
What are their lives like?
The majority of the folks who live around us will not take part in a worship service this morning.
The majority of the people who live in this community have never eaten from the Tree of Life.
Easter morning means nothing to them, unless they have kids, then it just means spending money on Easter candy and eggs.
For all intents and purposes they are still living in the time Before the Resurrection of Christ.
They are still living in the time where there is no choice that can be seen other than to be enslaved to sin, disobedience, frustration and death.
They are still living in the time that Mary Magdalene had been living in before she "turned" or was "converted"...
...they are still living in the time when Jesus just looks like another guy, another person, no different than the first person who ever lived--a gardener.
But just as Jesus called Mary's name, Jesus is calling those who are still asleep on this Easter morning.
And whoever will turn, or be converted, will bow down and worship Him as they too are raised to new life!!!
We are the Church of Jesus Christ.
And as the Church of Jesus Christ we are called to come together and worship the Living Christ.
But we are not called to stay locked up behind the walls of our building.
After experiencing Christ, we are to do what Mary did after she recognized Jesus for Who He is.
She ran to tell others.
In Matthew Chapter 9 we are told that "Jesus went through all the towns and villages...