Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Sunrise Service - We Are The Women

March 31st Sunrise:

We Are The Women
March 31, 2013
Potsdam Sunrise
Call: Luke 23: 44-56
Text: Luke 24: 1-12
Read: W&S #31

[Read 24: 1-12]
At the time of His ascension, Jesus The Christ
   Commissioned and charged His disciples
      To be His witnesses
         In Jerusalem
         In all Judea and Samaria
         And to the ends of the earth.

And, at that same time,
   He commissioned and he charged us, as the successors to the disciples,
to be His witnesses
      In our own towns and villages
      In all our state and the rest of the United States
      And throughout and across the entire world.

This he did.   This he expects.

And forty days before that,   on Easter itself,    he gave us examples,
   Examples that it can be done
   Examples    of how it is done.

You and I have, in our hymn,
just asked ourselves and we have asked each other:

Were you there       when they crucified our Lord?
   I wasn't.  Were you?
Were you there       when they nailed him to the tree?
I wasn't.  Were you?
Were you there       when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there       when the sun refused to shine?
   I wasn't.  Were you?

Were you there       when
   After taking his lifeless body down from the cross
   Joseph of Arimathea laid him in his tomb?

I wasn't.  Were you?
Of course not!
We were not there.   But we do know all about it.

We know all about it because
The women who had followed him from Galilee were there
   They were there      each step of the way.

The women were witnesses      To    his crucifixion

For they were there and they saw
   Him being nailed to the cross
They were there and they saw
   When he was pierced in his side
They were there and they saw
   The darkness when the sun refused to shine.

Too, they were witnesses to   his burial

For they were there and they saw Joseph of Arimathea
Place Christ's lifeless body     in a tomb hewn out of rock.

One more thing.

Those women were witnesses not just to the crucifixion and burial
They were witnesses to     his resurrection
For they were there and they saw the empty tomb
      On the third day,    The first day of the week
      When at early dawn they arrived at that tomb
         with the spices they had prepared.

But they couldn't apply those spices to his body
   For they found no body
In the tomb where they had seen it placed on Friday

Instead, They found a pair of angels standing beside them.

They were there      And they were terrified.

But they heard those angels ask and inform them

   "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
   He is not here.
   He has risen.

And they heard the angels remind them of what Christ himself had told them
   "Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee,
   that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and crucified
   and on the third day rise again.

You and I know all about
   His crucifixion   his burial  and his resurrection
Because those women were witnesses
   And because they told others about what they had experienced

Those women instinctively and courageously
   Fulfilled the Great Commission
   Before it was given.

I am fully convinced that it is
Both intentional and significant that
In a society that did not value them,
The first witnesses to the empty tomb,
And the most extensive witnesses to his death and burial
were women
   many of whom were nameless
   and others of whom we know little.

On the most important and most transforming days of Christ's ministry
   God provided you and me with witnesses
And examples
of what Christ would charge us to be and do 40 days later

And those examples were not
   the high priests
those examples were not
   the Scribes and Pharisees
those examples were not
   the politically or militarily powerful
those examples were
   Not the wealthy businessmen

And those examples were not the male disciples and their leaders

The examples of being witnesses     were women
   Women who in that society had few rights
   Women who like the slaves in the early United States
were basically property more than people.

Women in those days     were for procreation and pleasure
Women in those days     were for taking care of the residence
and raising the children

Women in those days were not for
   Giving testimony on religious matters

And yet it was women who were the witnesses
   Who were chosen to set examples for you and for me.

By choosing them
   God not only made sure that the remarkable love story
of the death, burial, and resurrection
would be told and would be shared
   God also made sure that you and I would see
If we pay attention -
That one does not have to be
   Politically, socially, economically important
      To fulfill Christ's great commission

If women in a society like the one in which
   Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James lived,
   Could be chosen and empowered to be Christ's witnesses

How in the world can you and I
protest and complain
   About God's demand that we be witnesses
When all of us are more powerful than those women were.

In coming out here before the sun rises
You and I have chosen
To imitate, remember, and be inspired
by the empty tomb
And   by the people who first saw it
Today we take great joy
   In the resurrection, of course,
   And we do so, by declaring
      On the first day of the week
      at early dawn
      "We        - males and females alike -    are the women."

Whether we continue to be  depends on
   Whether we choose to lead lives and use words
that tell His story
and of our experiences with him.

I pray that we do so
   Not just at dawn
   But for 24 hours each day.