2014_04_27_ADo not be afraid;  I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised.

These were the words that the women heard as they went to the tomb on the day that Jesus was raised.  ‘He is not here,’ they were told.  They were encouraged to go away from the tomb:

Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.

In all of this, it is clear that the empty tomb is not proof of the resurrection.  It is not proof, but it is evidence.

The proof of the resurrection is you and I gathered here, nearly 2000 years after the event to celebrate the raising of Jesus Christ.

The proof of the resurrection is millions of Christians across world at this very moment celebrating the Risen Christ in millions of Churches.

The proof of the resurrection is not to be found in a tomb with the stench of death.  But it is to be found in people whose lives are constantly being touched and transformed because they know that this beautiful and broken world does not, on its own, have the key to what makes us truly alive and what makes us truly human.

2014_04_27_BThe proof of the resurrection is to be found in you who are being baptised and confirmed this morning because you have responded to God’s call to be his followers. You have responded to the love that he has shown to the world, not just to church-goers, but to the world, over these three days from Good Friday to Easter Day.  If you want to see what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, if you want to be clearer about the faith to which you are committing yourself, just look at these 3 days between Good Friday and Easter Day: it’s all there.  The commitment you are making is about Love which involves joy, new life,  pain, agony, death and new life again. And all of this is combined with knowledge of what those first followers of Jesus discovered:

No matter what happens Christ will always be with you and always going before you.

Alleluia!  Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Readings: Romans 6.3-11; Matthew 28.1-10;

Preached at Rochester Cathedral