EASTER SUNDAY 1B—
April 5, 2015
Peace Lutheran Church, Grass Valley, CA
I heard about a church organist who overslept one Easter morning. The service was scheduled for 6:30. At 6:31 the minister called the organist to see if she was coming. Turned out she lived near the church so she was at the organ by 6:45.
The following year, the organist has a phone call at 5:45. It was the minister. He announced, “Christ is risen! And you’d better rise, too!”
- What is the meaning of Easter. Some “on the street” responses.
- Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus! That fact makes a difference!
- Easter is God’s “yes” to the world’s “no.”
- “We ought to wear crash helmets, not Easter bonnets.” Anne Dillard
- God makes the impossible possible!
- Easter is God’s victory for a better world.
The teacher asked her class what is the meaning of Easter. One little boy raised his hand and replied: “After Jesus died on the cross, his friends buried him in a tomb. Then, 3 days later he got out of the tomb.”
The teacher then asked, what this meant to all of us. The little boy replied, “Well, if Jesus saw his shadow it meant we’d have six more weeks of bad weather.”
Truth is, a lot of adults don’t have a much better idea of the meaning of Easter.
In one of those “people in the streets interviews” the interviewer got these responses to the question: “What is the significance of Easter’?”
“A fun, family time.”
“Picking up Easter eggs.”
“It celebrates the day Jesus was born … no …
“I’m not sure. It does have something to do with God.”
“Something to do with Jesus. Maybe, I’m not spiritual. I really don’t know that much.”
“Spring vacation, a day off, man.”
“It’s the two “p’s”: pearls and purses. Then off to church.
“I don’t know for sure. Maybe something to do with a rabbit.”
So, then, just what is Easter?”
Oh, you know that it’s more than chocolate. You know that it is more than eggs. You know that it is more than family gatherings. You know, don’t you, that it is more than bonnets, a jump into spring, or a time for vacation. You know that about Easter, don’t you? Or hasn’t it soaked in yet?
For, you see, when it soaks in, when we understand it, the meaning of Easter just rolls off of our lips. “Easter is about the death and resurrection of my Lord, Jesus Christ.” Paul in his letter to the Corinthians says it just as easily. And if you read the book of Acts, you’ll hear the same confidence roll off the lips of Peter and others as they witness to what it means to proclaim Easter. When they put into context the message of the resurrection.
Friends. I’m here this Easter morning to say this: Easter makes a difference. God’s victory won at the empty tomb changes things. God’s power overcoming death and the grave changes the way we look at the world. Jesus resurrection changes our lives. The fact that Jesus is alive, is a “Yes” in the face of the world’s “nos”.
Easter is about God’s “Yes” in our lives!
- “Yes!” to life and hope in the face of death and disaster.
- “Yes!” to healing and renewal in the face of injury and illness.
- “Yes!” to forgiveness in the face of sin and shortcomings and our sense of being ‘unforgivable’.
- “Yes!” to justice in the face of corruption.
- “Yes!” to peace in the face of war, conflict and petty disagreements.
- “Yes!” to wisdom and insight in the face of the situations that baffle us.
- “Yes!” to hope and light in the places that are filled with darkness and dead-end choices.
- “Yes!” to a new future in the face of transition and change.
- “Yes!” to everything that is full of right, good, hope and life in the face of what is empty, dark and evil.
God’s “yes” to the world’s “nos” might be the very reason that it is reported that Annie Dillard has said that as “Easter People” we ought to wear crash helmets, not Easter bonnets.
I think she was meaning that to be “Easter People” is to experience life in a totally new way. Jesus is alive and life will never be the same. Jesus is alive and God’s Easter people are alive in the world. The grave is open and the impossible becomes possible.
As Easter People we rejoice that God has smashed the status quo and turned the tables on all the priorities of the world. We live in the promise that all best are off, all expectations are reversed because Jesus is Lord. Easter people know that in the resurrection of Jesus live has purpose and meaning and that in Him we are included in His mission as an awesome and non-negotiable responsibility. Crash helmets indeed!
At the same time as I proclaim this good news, there are many, maybe even you, who feel the heavy burden of the world’s “no.” Many who feel as though life isn’t really life. Maybe you’re wondering just where God’s “yes” comes from. Maybe you can’t even catch a shadow glimpse of the possible in the middle of your impossible.
The story is told of the young man who as asked by his mother what he wanted to be when he grew up.
His reply was, “Possible. I wanna be possible.”
Puzzled, the mother asked, “Why? Why do you want to be a possible?”
With confidence the young man said, “Well, Mom, you’re always saying I’m ‘impossible’, so sometime I’d like to be possible.”
Easter’s Good News is that the living Lord has overturned the impossible. It was true when Jesus rose from the dead. It is true today. As an Easter Person we know God’s possible.
- “Possible!” because the Crucified Christ knows our deepest personal anguish, troubles and worries.
- “Possible!” because the Risen Christ who goes ahead of us knows the future into which we are being led.
- “Possible!” because Easter trumps all the reports of death, destruction and evil.
- “Possible!” because the Eternal God of creation lives and reigns with all power and majesty.
So . . . What’s Easter? Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus. It is about God’s victory. Easter is God’s “Yes!” Easter is God’s “possible!” Easter is about God’s wonderful gifts of grace and blessing for this full, wild, purposeful ride that we call life!!
Take off your bonnets. Put on your protective gear.
The grave is open.
Jesus is alive.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
Life is full.
In the Risen Christ we walk in the light of possibility.
We are Possible!
With the resurrected Lord all things are possible!