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  • Mariah Martin

"Re-member" Easter Sunday-Emerson Baby Dedication

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

Luke 24:1-12


I was talking to my housemate Elma about Holy Week and Easter coming up. Trying to improve my Spanish, I asked her what the word for Easter is in Spanish. This got us talking about Easter and the resurrection and what it all meant. I liked her perspective. She said that we live Easter, we live Holy Week, every week and every day.


She is right. Christ is risen and alive every day of our lives. And we live the resurrection every day. In fact, we experience resurrection all the time. We just have to look for it. We have to search for the stone rolled back.


While reading the story of the women and the empty tomb, I began to see a process; steps the women took, which enabled the women to see AND BELIEVE the resurrection.

The steps are two-fold and are hidden in the words “remember” and “resurrection”. When I discovered this, I felt like I had cracked a code!


After I explain the steps, I will tell a few stories that demonstrate this process of living, seeing, and believing the resurrection in our daily lives.


Upon discovering the tomb, the women were confused, then afraid when the angels approached them in all their dazzling glory. They fell upon the Earth. Then what did the angels tell them to do? They told the women to REMEMBER. Remember Jesus’ words.


Remember. Think again about what you already know to be true. The angels called the women to mix their old understanding with this new, strange reality. It was only when the women remembered that they understood and believed in the resurrection.


The word remember can be split into two separate parts: RE and MEMBER.

When the prefix “re” is used in a word it means “again.”


MEMBER can mean mindfulness, calling something to mind. It can also refer to the parts of something. Like members of a congregation. Or parts of a body. It basically refers to how individual parts are arranged within a system.


So, two ways to think of the word remember are:

1. again, be mindful or

2. again, arrange (arrange again)


Now for the word resurrection or resurrect. It can be separated into RE and SURRECT.

Like I said RE means again and SURRECT can mean surge or rise. Therefore resurrection can mean again, rise.


So here are our three steps, so to say, to living out resurrection:

1. be mindful, again

2. arrange, again

3. and rise, again


You could say them this way: always being mindful, continuously re-arrange, and rise up, again and again.


Remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross, what he did for us through the resurrection calls us to be mindful, to pay attention to how death and new life are around us all the time. It calls us to re-arrange the way we view the world. To see where our expectations don’t match reality. Finally, when we are bowing down, face to face with the Earth from awe or fear, it beckons us to rise again, to stand up and witness to the resurrection we have seen and experienced.


Be mindful. Re-arrange. And Rise Again.


I have two short stories to tell you. Stories of re-membering and re-surrection. While I tell them, look for mindfulness, for re-arranging, for rising again.

This first story is from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, written by Ian Frazier in his book, On the Rez.


Frazier tells the story of the Pine Ridge Lady Thorps, a high school basketball team from the reservation. When teams from the reservation played at other High Schools, they were teased frequently and with great cruelty by their opponents and their opponents’ fans. They were taunted and called all sorts of horrific, racist names for Native Americans.

One game, the Pine Ridge girls were getting ready in the locker room, and they could hear the fans shouting insults and making deafeningly loud, fake-Indian cries. The usual plan for the pre-game warm-ups was for the girls to line up by height, and leave the locker room, taking a lap or two running around the gym and then begin shooting baskets. As they were lining up, a senior, the girl who normally led the team out of the locker room, was overcome with embarrassment from the fans’ insults. Overwhelmed, she said “I can’t handle this.” SuAnne, a freshman girl, piped up and offered to go out first in her place. The older girl was wary of this suggestion and said, “Don’t embarrass us.” SuAnne assured her that she wouldn’t embarrass them.


SuAnne went out on the court, dribbling the basketball, her team following behind. But instead of taking a full lap she suddenly stopped in the middle of the court. The team was surprised, bumping into one another by the quick stop. SuAnne passed away her basketball, unbuttoned her warm-up jacket, took it off, draped it over her shoulders, and began to do the Lakota shawl dance.


This dance is a young women’s dance, graceful yet show-offy at the same time. Then as she continued dancing, she started to sing in Lakota.

The entire room went silent, her voice filling the room. One of her teammates said, “All that stuff the..fans were yelling—it was like she reversed it somehow.” Then she took the ball, sprinted down the court toward the basket swished it. The fans, all of them, started cheering loudly. The Pine Ridge girls, of course, went on to win the game.


Be mindful. Re-arrange. And Rise Again.


The Lakota girl, SuAnne, became aware and mindful of the hateful discrimination her teammates were experiencing. Thinking creatively, she tapped into something old. Instead of giving in to the expectations of the crowd, instead of cowering in humiliation, she flipped their hatred into respect. She re-arranged their reality. The old broke into the new. Through all of this she helped her team rise again.


Hatred died that day and respect was born anew. How do we remember the resurrection?

Be mindful. Re-arrange, and Rise Again.


My second story is the life-journey of Shauna Niequist. Shauna is your typical white, middle-class mom. She is a writer and a speaker. She travels frequently and is always on the move.


As she says, “I’ve had babies and lost babies and written books and spoken at events and run races and hosted all manner of showers and dinners and parties. I’ve done so many things. And I’m so tired.” (31)


She says that productivity was her idol, the thing she loved and valued above all else.(40) The world that made sense to her was a world of earning and proving. (41)

One of the moments that changed everything for Shauna was a completely ordinary and mundane thing, as a lot of earth-shattering moments are. She was at a camp near a lake. On her way to the lake, she had a feeling that something was going to happen on this trip. That there was something important there for her to see. She could sense it. For the first time in a long time, she was really paying attention.


Shauna was watching the lake when all of a sudden a boat almost collided with a kayak that almost collided with a canoe...all while there were swimmers in the lake. Shauna felt panicked, sure that everyone was going to crash. Then she saw one of the camp directors sprinting, not to help everyone, but to grab candy. She was even more panicked at this man’s irresponsibility! This man stood on the shore, tossing out handful after handful of candy to the boats. Apparently this camp had the tradition of tossing candy to anyone passing by in a kayak or canoe, and the camp director thought that this was a fitting moment to partake in the tradition.


And…everything was fine, nothing catastrophic happened. The boats docked safely and no one was hurt. Shauna, watching from the deck, put her head down on the wide railing in front of her, and began to sob.


She used to be the type of person to “throw candy”. She used to be warm and whimsical. She used to believe in the power of silliness and memory making and laughter (196, 197).

Her life had reached a breaking point. Her health was suffering. She had migraines and vertigo. Her shoulder muscles were like rocks and the dark circles under her eyes were like bruises. (16)


She loved her life, but she had become someone she didn’t want to be around. Someone she didn’t want to be.


Later she got an email asking if she wanted to go to an event in San Francisco and she responded that she wanted to go, but she didn’t want to be away from the kids. She couldn’t decide what to do and what not to do anymore. She couldn’t tell up from down. She didn’t know how to put the brakes on anymore.


Her friend emailed back immediately, saying, “Stop. Right now. Remake your life from the inside out.”


And she did. Not all at once. But over time she learned how to say “no”. How to trust that her worth was rooted in more than what she could produce or how much she could get done. She realized that the hustling that had compromised her heart was an effort to outrun the emptiness and deep insecurity within her. (71) She began to live into God’s love and truly believe that yes is more. She discovered that silence and rest and breaking bread are what slowly heal old wounds. (You can read this story and others in her book, Present Over Perfect.)


Be mindful. Rearrange. And rise again.


Easter is about seeing through the darkness to the light. It is about “following the aliveness”. It is about seeking the dawn. It is about waking up. Looking around. Seeing, not just the dead leaves, but the yellow and purple flowers that have burst up through them.


Resurrection is all around us. We live it. We breathe it. We know it when we see it, but to see it we must be mindful. Again and again.


We need to keep carrying our spices to the tomb. We need to keep an eye out for the dazzling. For the moments that bring us face to face with the soil.

And if we feel like we have encountered resurrection, what is it saying to us? Does it call us to transform hatred? To throw candy? To just, stop?


Resurrection makes us stop. Right now. And re-make our lives from the inside out. Resurrection takes all your bones and re-arranges them. It scrambles your limbs. The old seeps into the new and it expands and bursts apart.


This dis-membering and re-membering may feel frightening and disorienting, but it is gift.

After we re-member, then we choose whether to get up and believe. Do we rise up? If we do, then our world will never be the same. Something has died and something has come to life. If we rise up then we can run and tell everyone about the new life that we see, that we live.


Be mindful. Re-arrange. And Rise Again.


This resurrection is not an abstract concept. It is our lived reality. Something we get to bear witness to today. Today we are mindful. Today we bear witness to the re-membering of our congregation. Today we rise up and collectively hold and celebrate the life of little Emerson.


At this point I invite Emerson and all of his family to come forward.


Emerson helps us all to rise up with the hope for the future. Emerson is not only the future of the church, but he is the church now. We bear witness to God-in-him right now.


Let’s pray.

Questions/Vows:

1. Austin and Jeslyn, do you accept your child in the midst of this community and before God, as a gift from the creator of life?

2. Do you accept the trust that God has placed on you for the care and nurture of Emerson, so that he may become all that God has made him to be?

3. Are you willing to support Emerson through the many ways God’s call in his life may take shape?

4. Will you help and encourage Emerson to love God, himself, and others as Christ has taught us to do?

Bonneyville Community:

1. Do you accept the responsibility that you have as a community of God’s people, to support and raise Emerson in a way that is nurturing, compassionate, and true to our Creator God?

2. Will you also support Austin and Jeslyn as they chose how to parent and raise Emerson and Everett the best they know how?


Lets turn to Hymnal 791 and read it together.

Presentation of Certificate and promise of Children’s Bible



This photo was taken at baby Emerson's dedication service at Bonneyville Mennonite Church. Pastor Mariah is surrounded by Emerson and his family while they pray.

Please pray with me a blessing for Emerson:

Beloved Emerson,

You are such a delight. Your joy for love and people is already so apparent. Even at such a young age it is clear that God is already shining from within you. Emerson, know that you are the precious child of our Creator God. Know you are surrounded by the embrace of the Holy Spirit. Know that you are called forth and welcomed into the open arms of Jesus. May your days be full of lift, light, peace, and brimming with the comfort that comes from belonging to a community and a family that supports you and loves you unconditionally.

Amen

Wendy will now lead us in 73 from Sing the Journey together. As we sing I will walk Emerson around and you will have the opportunity to hand him your written blessing or say it to him. Then I will end in a final blessing.


Works Consulted

“Books — Shauna Niequist.” Accessed August 10, 2019. https://www.shaunaniequist.com/books.


“Commentary on Luke 24:1-12 by Arland J. Hultgren.” Accessed April 16, 2019. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1581.


“Commentary on Luke 24:1-12 by Holly Hearon.” Accessed April 16, 2019. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4016.


Neumark, Heidi, Christa Compton, Jan Rippentrop, Wilbert S Miller, Bradley A Froslee,

Ann Fritschel, and Peter Carlson Schattauer. “Preaching Helps: Easter Sunday — First Sunday of Pentecost: The Lure of Abundant Life.” Currents in Theology and Mission 45, no. 2 (April 2018): 46–62.

“On the Rez: Ian Frazier: 9780312278595: Amazon.Com: Books.” Accessed August 10, 2019. https://www.amazon.com/Rez-Ian-Frazier/dp/0312278594.


“Sunday’s Coming: Speak Out.” Accessed April 16, 2019. https://mailchi.mp/christiancentury.org/sc-free-349219?e=540d0e3d48.

“This Is Where the Word ‘Easter’ Comes From.” Time. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://time.com/4738876/easter-word-origin-history/.

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