Year A Easter John 20 2011
The Good News of Easter
John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

As I look around, I see great events playing out on the world stage:

Democracy is being brought to regions of the world that never really understood the dignity of individual citizens or the joy of liberty.

HIV/AIDS continues to take its toll around the globe. Countries face off in tense negotiations over trade, border disputes, and ancient grievances.

An unprecedented ability to communicate ideas and beliefs to any part of the planet and to any person is quickly becoming commonplace. And the ability to move produce and goods around the world makes it possible as never before to bring significant relief to regions that suffer. These world-shaping events are so important. They are literally changing the course of history. And as I watch, I wonder. I wonder what I am doing here in this pulpit. If the real action isn't out there doing the world shaping. And then I am reminded of two things.

First, I am reminded that no event in history has shaped the world like the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And Second I am reminded of this simple fact about life. Life does not go on forever. There is death. Every one of us must face our mortality. There is no military victory, no medical cure, no global village that can prepare any individual to answer the ultimate questions in life. And this morning I stand to proclaim Hope, the hope of His Resurrection. There is death. Yes. But life is in Jesus Christ, the hope of our resurrection.

Friends, you have come here this morning with a sense of anticipation and longing. There are sobering questions on your mind and much hangs in the balance. Is there hope? Is there new life? Is there reason for joy? The answer to your questions has arrived this day. It is here waiting for you.

It is a three-word message: Christ Is Risen! Good news for the depressed.

Good news for those who have lost loved ones. Good news. Good news to those who have lost their joy, Christ is risen.

Consider with me this morning the implications of Easter.

  1. First, because of the Resurrection the disciples were changed.
  2. Secondly, because of the Resurrection our view of death has changed.
  3. Because of the resurrection, our view of Jesus has changed.

All Boxed In?
Matthew 28:1-10

Here is my thesis: the greatest public service the church can perform for its community, and for the world, is this: celebrate Easter. A true, beautiful and good celebration of Easter.

Here is the proof of my thesis: last year's "Resurrection Sunday Dance," that took place in Budapest, Hungary, where God is up to some amazing things. This very moment on Easter Sunday Christians are "Resurrection Dancing" at various capitols and courtyards around the world. But here is my favorite one from 2010 Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary:

Can anyone watch this dance, or join the dance, and not have a heart full of Easter? Can anyone watch this dance and not feel resurrection everywhere? For resurrection is all about a 4 letter word ---- LIFE ---- a life that triumphs over death.

Will you join the Resurrection Dance or won't you? It's your choice. Will you live your life in a confined space, a "prison cell? Or would you prefer to live your life "out of the box?"

Who would possibly choose for confinement over freedom?

No one. Yet eventually almost all of us do. We winnow down our life choices. We sieve out our career selections. We sift events and experiences into "important" vs. "insignificant." The more we determine what is crucial to our life plan; the more we dismiss people, places, and possibilities that might throw a monkey wrench into the preconceived prequel of our life; the more we arrange our life according to what we like; the more we remove ourselves from what we don't know and don't like: the more we put ourselves into " a box."

Who was it who first said — the only difference between a rut and the grave is the depth?

Easter is all about blowing out the box. Easter is all about unlooked for possibilities. presents Leonard Sweet