On this great celebration of Easter, a preacher has many choices of points of departure …. some will speak of new life and new beginnings ….. some will speak of new possibilities for growth …..others will speak about death and resurrection as parts of everyday life … some will speak about the ultimate victory of good over evil … others might speak of the great reconciliation of this world with the world to come …
But, if we want Easter to be more than just a day or even a season … if we want Easter 2012 to be the first day of a whole new way of being, then we literally need to get to the heart of what this day was when Jesus rose from the dead and what this day can be today.
At the heart of all preaching, at the center of all proclamation, the impulse for all celebration is one fact: Look at what power God has!
The resurrection is not the result of human effort …. rising to new life is not a product of the work of any man or woman. You and I cannot create new life or new possibilities … we might co-operate with God, we might step into the mystery, we might be taken up into the transcendent ….. but, GOD DID IT.
I remember a very simple, child-like expression from a theology professor who said: I might turn on the light-switch, but I did not create the power. I turned on the switch, God provided the power. One can take the analogy a step further ….I turn on the switch, the power might be running to the circuit, but if the lamp is not plugged in, still there will be no light.
Yes, today is a day to shout Alleluia …He is Risen! There is no reason to be afraid! Fear has been wiped out! Death has been defeated! The tomb is empty.
Divorce need never define anyone. Sickness is not reason to give up hope. Guilt need not make us live in shame.
We should not look for the living one among the dead. Move out of cynicism and bitterness. Get away from people who limit us.
Folks in the pulpit and folks in the pew, though, must FIRST HOWEVER, EMBRACE Jesus who is the powerful-one if we want to truly experience resurrection and new life. I might resuscitate myself by sheer stubbornness or determination …..but I CANNOT RESURRECT MYSELF …. only God can do that …. as I die to myself so that God can do it one more time in this place, at this moment.
The Resurrection is something God DOES TO US …. God makes us radically different, a new person … unrecognizable from the past.
The Resurrection is something GOD DOES THROUGH US …. to change the world around us …. changing our families, our places of work, our relationships.
The Resurrection is something GOD DOES FOR US …. simply because he love us … God sees us not only as we are, but as we can be in his new life. He lets us look beyond the problems to see the possibilities.
Do you feel like a Easter man or an Easter woman? Do you sense that this day is a new day, a different day, a new beginning?