Summary: Beyond all of the cultural reasons to come to Easter worship, we come to know that our lives are anchored. But it’s hard to know. Job points the way by affirming a redeemer despite the lack of evidence. Today we know a living redeemer, life changer.
If I were to ask you why you’ve come here today, how would
you answer? Tell the truth, now; you’re in church. What do
you expect and why are you here today?
I’d guess that a number of us would give out what Mayor
Williams calls the all-too-typical D. C. government
employee’s answer: “Idnno.” But I am betting that you do
know. What do you expect and why are you here today?
Now if the truth be told, some of us would have to say, “I’m
here because it’s the custom, it’s the thing to do, it’s Easter,
and that’s what normal folks do on Easter. They go to
church. I am here to do my nod to God.” And if you were to
say that, I would reply, “Sorry, but that doesn’t get it. A nod
to God and a couple of dollars will get you a subway ride, but
nothing more.” I would tell you that I think you really have
come for more than that.
So, if I were to keep on asking why you’ve come today, some
would say, “I’m here to keep peace in the family. My wife
said to me, ‘You could make me a little happier if you would
show up at church once in a while’ and so I’m here to satisfy
her. Besides, if I didn’t come, I might not get any Easter
dinner. So I don’t have any expectations other than for a
short service. I’m just here because she who must be
obeyed insisted on it.” And if you were to say that, I would
reply, “Sorry, but that doesn’t get it either. God does not like
being second best, and does not appreciate being used as a
pawn to settle disputes. So if you just brought your body and
left your heart at home, well, go home and join your heart.”
But having delivered myself of that, I would still tell you that I
think you have come for more than that.
“Well, pastor, if you are asking me what I expect from the
service, I’d say I want to feel something. I want it to be at
least a little bit exciting. I want the choir to thrill me with its
music and I want you to lift me out of my slumbers. Maybe
you can even coax an ‘Amen’ out of me. I want to feel
And to that I would have an answer too. I would say, “Yes. I
think you do want to feel something. But I think you want
more than emotion. I think you want more than excitement.
I think you want more than rousing music and oratorical
thrills. I think you want to know. I think you have come here
this morning to know, for yourself, that your lives are
connected to something secure. I think that you want to
know that your lives are rooted and grounded in something
certain. I believe that you want to know that your life is
valued by an eternal God, who cannot be shaken and whose
purposes are clear.
I believe that you and I come to worship because at rock
bottom we need to know that our lives mean something. We
need to know that somebody is minding the store.
The truth is that it’s hard to know anything for certain, isn’t it?
It’s hard to be sure about anything at all. It’s hard to know
that the things we’ve done will make any difference. It’s hard
to know that the things we’ve created will stand. If we didn’t
recognize that before nine-eleven, we certainly do now.
Who would have thought that those immense Twin Towers
would have tumbled so quickly? Who knew, before that day,
that much would be forever changed? It’s hard to know
these things for certain.
It’s hard to know even at the personal level, even the
simplest things. Yesterday I came home and noticed a pie
sitting out on the stove. I didn’t think anything of it until my
wife came into the kitchen and said, “Why did you take that
pie out of the refrigerator?”. I said, “But I didn’t. It was just
there.” And she said, “No it wasn’t; I put it away.” And back
and forth it went like that until now neither one of us knows
who moved the pie! You see, it’s hard to know anything for
real! (But of course one thing I do know, and that is I know
where I would like to put it, and it isn’t on the stove or in the
refrigerator, either one!).
It’s hard to know very much in this complex world. Nothing is
simple. Young Sally asked her father what looked like a
math question. “If one man can load one hundred boxes