Summary: A haystack with three jelly beans reminds us of the significance of three days
Today is Easter Sunday – the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus which brought salvation to the world, and all of us. This is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
This past Thursday, called Maundy Thursday of Holy Week, nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus was arrested by the high priests of the Jewish temples because they were jealous of the powerful following he was developing. They also feared the message he preached – one that said everyone was important to God. He was then questioned by Pilate, the Roman ruler, who wanted to release Jesus because he could find no fault with him. Throughout the questioning, Jesus remained silent until the end. Then he said one of the most significant statements that foretold his future:
'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.' (Mark 15:48)
As I am talking about Easter and Jesus’ resurrection, Saint John’s people will be passing out little Easter nests with three jelly beans. The nest represents the coming of Spring, the renewal of the earth and birth of new creatures. And the three jelly beans remind us of Jesus’ promise that the physical structure of the temple may disappear, the power structures of all men, but a new temple will arise. That temple is the resurrected Jesus who showed us life everlasting.
The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible. We know from the Holy Week reading that Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane that God would remove this burden from him; we know that
• James and John and Peter fell asleep three times while Jesus was praying;
• that Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed;
• that there was three hours of darkness from the time that Jesus was nailed to the cross until he died.
And more importantly, Jesus was dead three days before he was resurrected.
So, let these 3 little jelly beans remind you of all that!
Also remember that throughout the Bible we are reminded that each of us are children of God, beloved by him, no matter our shortcomings. And, also, that our bodies represent the temple of God –where we try, to the best of our ability, to live worthy lives according to the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus suffered a painful and humiliating death to show us that death is not the end of life, but leads to an eternity of love in paradise.
This is the story of Easter.
Let us pray:
Even before the dawn breaks, you are with us. Even while our spirits are broken, you rebuild us. Though we are too weary to run, you renew us. Though we are too slow to believe but quickly ardent in idolization, you remain our God. When we barely remember our names and all hope seems lost to the grave, you love us forever. Now the eyes of our hearts are opened and the song on our lips is pure joy. Beloved Resurrection!
Delivered at In The Garden Ecclesia Ministry, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH; 1 April 2018