The Scripture reading today is Matthew 27:27-61
The Sermon title is Death that Shakes Reality
Early Thoughts: Why do we tell this story every year?
Well in part because if we don't then the core story of Christian faith--the story we will tell on Sunday--makes absolutely no sense. How can there be resurrection with no death?
And in part we tell the story because we believe that there is something different about this execution. Because that is what it is. An execution. But unlike many executions it is one that shakes the world. Quite literally as Matthew tells it.
Of course much of that earth-shaking power is seen in retrospect, with eyes that know "the rest of the story". But those who were present that day did not know the rest of the story. Jesus had, as the gospels tell us, predicted that his death would not be the end but did they really believe that?
So this is a death that rocked their world. They believed great things were about to happen. Instead this happened. Reality shakes us up sometimes.
Then there is the centurion. This death rocked his world too. He saw things totally differently.
What ripples shake us in our comfortable (metaphorically not physically) pews as we read this story again this year?