Summary: Our Living Hope In this Easter message Dave looks at the resurrection and the hope it brings, concluding the hope associated with Easter is only real if the resurrection if real. If the resurrection is mythical, then so is Easter hope.
Our Living Hope
Easter, April 16, 2006
Wildwind Community Church
Jeremiah 29:11 (GW)
11 I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.
Easter is a day of hope. It’s a day where we are reminded that though today may be Friday in our lives – though things may look dreary – though we may suffer and struggle – though we may look around us, and above us and below us, and inside ourselves, and see a bunch of lost causes - though today may be Friday, Sunday is on the way. Life will come from death. Light will spring from darkness. As the hymn says, “For the darkness will turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright. And Christ’s great kingdom will come on earth, a kingdom of love and light.”
Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
7 ’The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’"
8 Then they remembered his words.
The angels said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” My friends, I’m afraid many people today are still looking for the living among the dead. People are searching for the meaning and purpose of their lives in a universe that seems cold and hostile, where there simply cannot be any real meaning unless there is a “mean-er,” any purpose unless there is a “purpose-er.” Many want to believe life means something but do not want to look to the one who made it so. Many want to find purpose in their lives but refuse to seek that purpose outside of themselves and their own interests. But if in fact life actually has any meaning, that’s only because God means it, intends it, purposes it, and to find meaning we must look outside ourselves.
This is my question for you this morning: Are you looking for the living among the dead? In other words, are you searching for meaning in your life in places where there can be no meaning, where your only hope is false hope?
Fear grips a lot of people in our world today. It’s an increasingly scary place to live, isn’t it? It’s easy to feel hopeless in our world, to give up and say we can never have peace, we can never live without fear, we can never see an end to terror and war and disease. It’s easy to feel hopeless when the kids are sick for months at a time, when the money is never there to pay the bills, when you have tried to work out your marriage for the 97th time and run into failure again. It’s easy to feel hopeless when your health just will not stabilize, when your body won’t do what you dream of doing. It’s easy to lose hope of ever getting that promotion at work. Sometimes it’s hard to keep hoping that life might still have some exhilaration out there on your horizon. Age wears away at us sometimes and we feel tired. We sometimes feel we’ve lived a million years, yet it all seems to go by so fast. In the 80’s, John Mellencamp sang, “Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.” The times when we feel that way are the worst times. It seems like as we age and get a few miles on us, we’ve learned so many secrets, seen that so many things are not what they appear. We’ve hoped and been disappointed, we’ve prayed and felt ignored, cried out and not been heard, asked questions and been ridiculed, took risks and failed, loved people and then lost them, reached out a trembling hand and been rejected. We’ve come face to face again and again and again and again with the crushing reality that life is birth, some good times, some times that are so bad you wish during them that you hadn’t been born at all, a few times of immense joy, and then an often long, slow spiral to the end of our days. We’ve realized the extremely scary fact that there’s not one love on this earth, not one union, no matter how blissful, that will not eventually end in painful separation by death. Sometimes we can get fixated on the cloud inside every silver lining. Even in the good times we can begin to think, “Oh man, times are good. That means trouble is on the way!”