Sermon Easter Day April 1, 2018

Acts 10:34-43             Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24           

1 Corinthians 15:1-11            Mark 16:1-8

May these words and our thoughts be acceptable to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Hallelujah !  Jesus is risen !  Fantastic words and a fantastic event, it’s Easter and the whole world is renewed !  The western Christian world celebrates Easter, although sadly many just look at Easter as chocolate eggs and bunnies, and an excuse to take tomorrow off work.  That is so sad when today is the Redemption that everyone needs to achieve everlasting life.  For those others it’s like going to the cinema, eating popcorn and drinking pop in the foyer, and not bothering to go and see the movie !

To get them to go inside and take their rightful seat Peter takes up the task Jesus left all believers, Peter says  “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead”.  To start with that sounds pretty ominous.  If we are to face a judge, we must presumably have done something wrong.  Well yes !  We are judged for what we do in this life.  We were placed on Earth to enjoy the world, all its creatures and each other.  We are social creatures.  We have family not just to ensure our species will survive but for the pleasure of their company.  It’s the same with friends we have friends for the pleasure of their company too.  We are social creatures, so much so that we have made friends of other species too, we have dogs and cats, fish and birds, we even have rodents like mice and hamsters, and insects like the praying mantis that we brought home from school one weekend because it was our turn to take care of it.  Creation is amazing and because of that we rejoice in it.  Life should be great but we are oh so human.  We have it seems a natural tendency to want more, more than our share.  Sometimes through just plain greed but more often than not we just want to survive and need that little bit of extra whatever to make sure we will survive anything that could go wrong, some insurance as it were.  So we have a freezer full of food, more clothes than we need, extra bedrooms in our homes, two televisions and so on.  All of that signifies a lack of trust in God to provide when we are in need.  The upshot is that we therefore compete with others and as soon as we do we lose sight of the fact that we are social creatures and revert to only forming useful alliances  (not friendships)  alliances, that will stop us from getting thrown off the island.  That puts us at odds with everyone else who cannot help us in our drive to survive.

Too often we hear that we deserve the extra things we can get in competition with others, meaning in essence that those others don’t deserve their fair share as much as we do.  To any thinking human being that cannot be right.  We are equal and equally deserving of life’s bounty.  When we contradict that statement we put ourselves at odds with the Judge.

Oh what a shame from what God intended !  Back to that judge.  If we are not living up to what God intended then the judge is entitled to throw us off the island, that’s how it should be.  And would be except that God is not the Judge who has to live by the Law, He is the Law, and can temper His judgement with mercy.  Easter is all about mercy.  Good Friday we were redeemed from Sin and today Easter we are given a new chance to live the life God intended.

Sometimes we do the wrong thing.  The women at the tomb were told not to be afraid, and to go and tell the disciples what their next move was to be.  But what did they do ?  “They went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them;  and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”.  If an angel tells you not to be afraid would you believe the angel ?  If you were entrusted with a particular message would you deliver it ?  The women it seems did neither, they did the opposite, according to Mark.

Now is the time for us to believe and to follow the commandments of God, to not run away and then to tell others of the miracle and promise of Easter.  The hard work has been done by Jesus, we are now in the glorious time of having the opportunity to live to the Truth, knowing that all has been accomplished by Jesus, the Judge, in setting us free from the worries and temptations of this world.

I ask you to embrace the Gospel way of life, the Easter way of life spreading the Good News of the Resurrection and the promise of Everlasting Life, and being generous of spirit to all you encounter, the rich and the poor, the angry and the peaceful, the beautiful and the less so, the powerful and the lowly, the animate and the inanimate.  They, we, are all God’s creatures and deserve no less.  Yes, deserve, deserve not more but the same as everyone else.

When we come before the Judge we will be treated according to not what we may have deserved from the life we led, but we will be treated according to God’s prerogative of mercy.  The Judge is not a randomly programmed Sortin’ Hat but a rational loving God.  That’s the news we need to spread.  And from a real world perspective surely the world would be a better place if the clamour of life were replaced with the Peace of God.  It can be that way and one day it will be that way, but until then it’s up to you and me do everything possible to bring it about;  starting with ourselves.  Therefore, live the Easter message, rejoicing in the Spirit and the liberty just granted you by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He is Risen !  Alleluia !  Amen.

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