Summary: This is a sermon (reading) that I worked out for a self-aranged Easter Musical that our choir performed.
Out of the Ashes: An Easter Musical and Readings
John 19: 28-30; 40-42; 20: 1-8; 19-22
Beginning Song: Agnus Dei
The fire has finally died. It’s been snuffed out: Dampened by the coldness of betrayal, denial and doubt. No more glowing embers: Just a few dusty cinders remain laying in one clump. No more smoldering flares: Instead, just a few whiffs of smoke here and there. No more crackles, hisses or snaps of the fire-engulfed logs: just the scent of scorched firewood teasing the senses. Not one piece of wood left to even kindle a new flame: Just a pile of ash being stirred by a slight breeze of evilness.
This had been a blaze that had raged through the hearts and minds of those that had gathered near its warmth. It overtook each life that came into its path of edification and encouragement. It had been a non-consuming fire that burned with fervor and zeal; having been driven by the winds of empathy and benevolence. This inferno of divine devotion and earthly affection now has been extinguished by the loathing thoughts and deeds of the evil doer of all time – Satan.
One would think being the so called “master” of fire and flame, he too would have enjoyed being amid the licking tongues of fire from the true Master’s blaze of glory. But yet, he chose instead to attempt to quench this fire so that it would never flare-up again. To extinguish its illumination into the darkness of the world as well as its affectionate warmth felt by those who came near its loving glow.
Having now achieved his goal for the time being, Satan swept up the remains and placed them in a seal tomb. There’s no way now for even those who had been the closest to the fire to be able to gather the ashes in attempt to reignite the blaze once again. Besides, once the flames had been snuffed out those who had been deeply dedicated had now scattered far and wide. Some were fearful for their lives and distanced themselves from one and all; others just a little worried as they sit in waiting for the next move; a few anxious to sit near the fire once again.
What will happen now? Where can they go? What can they do? Is there any chance that a new fire will be ignited somewhere else? Will they be able to find warmth once again? Will their darkest hours ever see light again? Oh how deep is the Father’s love?
Song: How Deep the Father’s Love
Three longs days have passed since the fire has gone out. Gloominess engulfs the earth. Hatred has triumphed over love and compassion. War has defeated peace. Patience has been obliterated by anxiety and kindness has been annihilated by cruelty. Jubilation has been abolished by feelings of grief and sorrow. The foundation of faith has failed. The cornerstone of conviction is cracked. The basis of belief has been blown apart. The labor of loyalty is now loathed. The devotion to devoutness is damaged. The commitment to compassion has been compromised. And the determination of discipleship has been destroyed.
But yet, deep in the hearts and character of his elect the fire smolders. The flames of faith, even though dampened by disillusionment and contained by contentment, still live on in the recesses of the soul. All it will take is the fortitude to flame the embers of enthusiasm once again.
What will that take? When will it happen? What can be expected? Will it occur just as the fire has predicted? Is it now time for the fire to be rekindled into a blaze of glory once again?
Yes! The sealed tomb is open! It is empty! He is not here! The grave could not contain Him! He has risen as He said! He’s alive! Like the legendary phoenix raising out of the ashes the fire is aflame with its fullness once again! Yet this is no legend! It is authentic! The fire is blazing around the world forever more! Blaze, Spirit Blaze! Set the World on fire! Yes, out of a pile of ash rises an all encompassing fire! Once again, we can feel its warmth! Once again, our darkness is dispelled! No more doubt! No more need to deny knowing Him! No more necessity for betrayal.
Our discipleship had been dampened; our commitment, compressed; our devoutness, deterred; our loyalty, lacking; our belief system, bothered; our conviction, crushed; our faith, floundered; our joy, jostled; our patience, perplexed; our peace, pelted; our love, lowered; and our compassion, cooled. Yet, now the firestorm of Jesus is burning deep within your and my soul! Our discipleship is now determined to be dutiful; our commitment, catchy; our devoutness, definite; our loyalty, likely; our belief system, bona fide; our conviction, certain; our faith, full; our joy, jubilant; our patience, practical; our peace, pure; our love, lively; and our compassion, compliant and dutiful. Out of the ashes, comes the Savior of the world.