Summary: Invite your worshipers to engage in comparing a chain letter promise of good luck to Jesus’ resurrection promising so much more.
I need the help of a few of you this morning. If you would be willing to open your hymnal to a specific hymn and just read the words that I ask for, please raise your hands.
(first person called upon)
If you would please turn to hymn # 479 and just hold on to that page.
(second person called upon)
I need you to go to hymn # 320 and leave it open to that page.
(third person called upon)
If you would turn to hymn # 327.
(fourth person called upon)
You will have hymn # 332.
(fifth person called upon)
And you will have hymn # 453. Just one more . . . .
(sixth person called upon)
Would you please turn to hymn # 294.
Please hold on to those hymnals, and if a little while I will ask you to please read a portion of those hymns good and loud for us. Thank you.
Please bow your hearts and pray with me:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
WOW! What marvelous words we have in today’s Gospel lesson! The women went early in the morning to see the tomb, but when they arrived, the large stone was rolled away, and they met an angel who said, “You are looking for Jesus . . . He is not here. He has been raised from the dead, just as he had said.” WOW!
CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
And what that means is: Jesus conquered death and the grave, and all because of His LOVE for us, God has given us eternal life in Jesus Christ. And we proclaim this fact and we affirm this fact every Sunday, every Lord’s Day, when we gather together in this holy, house of God for worship. But today - - - especially today, Easter Sunday, we affirm the news of the empty tomb, and the PROMISE of eternal life that has been given to us ALL. And it’s not because we deserve it. Far from it. This wonderful gift of God’s Grace is given to us --- simply because he loves us so much. And His love continues to go on and on, eternally --- and it is that kind of love that is revealed to us in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. It is a love that knows no end.
I stand here before you today, this Easter Sunday morning, as your Pastor, to say to you that if you remember just one thing in listening to your many years of sermons, remember this: I believe that Christ was raised from the dead and that we are promised life everlasting, which is his free gift to us. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a resurrection and that there is eternal life. And my belief is based on the words spoken by the women who went to see the tomb early that Easter Sunday morning --- and found it empty.
We have the promise of everlasting life, the promise of eternal life --- all because of the empty tomb. All that Jesus had said about his suffering, his death and resurrection, were true.
He IS the Son of God in whom we are to put our trust and hope. That is the message we hear today, and are to be sending to others. That is the message that Christ has called us to proclaim loud and clear.
Today, we live in an age of great technological advances. Today we are able to send messages in a variety of ways. How many people here this morning have a personal computer at home? (they raise their hands) How many of you send and receive email? (they raise their hands again) I get so much email, you wouldn’t believe it. Some of it from people I don’t know. You would not believe the kinds of pharmaceutical products I get offered online. (smile) Oh, you get them too, huh?
I also have people who send me stories. Do you get these stories too? These stories are pages long, and they are heart rending stories about tragedy and they end with some kind of miracle taking place. My goodness, you could just wring the tears out of these stories can’t you? But they all end the same why, don’t they? They end with the words, “YOU MUST FORWARD THIS TO 5 FRIENDS, AND WHEN YOU HAVE, YOU WILL BE REWARDED.” (allow them to laugh and nod in agreement)