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FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON NC
  • Writer's pictureWAVES Day Program

Hunkered Down Homilies – Too Good



A gathering in a garden at sunrise

Easter morning was just about as perfect as it gets in southeastern North Carolina.  The temperature was near 60 degrees with a light breeze blowing from the south.  The sky was a brilliant blue.  The white and pink dogwoods were blooming at their peak. 


Our church has a tradition of celebrating Resurrection Sunday at Airlie Gardens – a 67-acre estate along the Intercoastal Waterway.  The estate features multiple areas of camellias, azaleas, ponds and ancient live oak trees.  Easter morning over 400 people gathered to sing hymns and to hear the good news again that “Jesus is Alive.  He is alive indeed!”


As I watched the people make their way down the pathways and into the large clearing where we would share our praise, I thought of the first Easter morning.  There wasn’t a crowd of worshippers making their way to the garden tomb where Jesus had been buried.  There wasn’t a brass band trumpeting the message of hope. 


The gospel accounts of Resurrection Sunday tell us that a small group of women made their way through the early morning dusk.  They were not expecting an empty tomb and a risen Savior.  They were just hoping to find a way to anoint the body of a dear friend.  The way Mark tells the story, when the angel told the women, “Jesus is not here.  He has risen,” their immediate response was not joy.  “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.  They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)  The women felt confused, afraid, shaken.  Can you blame them?  Who ever heard of someone coming back to life? When the truth of the Resurrection finally sunk in the hearts of the women, they went and told the disciples.  “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:11)


I am afraid that the radical message of Easter has become so familiar that we have lost the sense of awe felt by those who first heard it.  The Resurrection of Jesus was something that had never happened before – or since.  The truth that Jesus overcame death changed everything about life.  It is radical news.  It is revolutionary. 


People say, “If something seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.”  The Resurrection is the exception!


Dr. Jim Baldwin

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