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Summary: Easter 2008 Sermon

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(Slide 1) I begin with a question, ‘What are you having for Easter dinner?’ (Congregation responds)

(Slide 2) Who are you eating dinner with? (Congregation responds)

I wonder what our two Lenten guides might be having for Easter dinner… let’s find out!

(Slide 3) (Dramatic reading from ‘Living Lent; the animals tell the story, the fish reveals a risen savior’ by Creative Communications for the Parish © 2008)

Anybody having fish today for dinner?

Today is a family day for many people and that means lots and lots… and lots and lots of food, maybe not as much as Thanksgiving or Christmas, but if we leave the table hungry, that’s our fault. (A lot of people we know perhaps are eating in a warmer climate that we are today!)

I think that all of us have had the experience of eating during a difficult time such as a family member’s serious illness, a death, or other stressful times. We are grieving, we are anxious, we are tired, we are stressed out and the last thing that we want to do is eat.

In our main text for this morning, we read about a meal that the disciples were having that was a difficult one to eat… until Jesus showed up! Here is Luke 24:36-38:

‘And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why do you doubt who I am? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his feet.

Still they stood there doubting, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.’

The ‘they’ in verse 36 refers to the two who had encountered Jesus as they walked from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, a 7 mile trip one way. After their incredible encounter in which Jesus revealed Himself to them at the end of their journey, they had come back (and maybe ran until they were out of breath) to Jerusalem to tell about it and as they began to share it, Jesus appears before all of them!

I think that the care and compassion of Christ is evident in this passage as He helped the stunned group deal with their shock and fear at His appearance. He did not mock them or make fun of them, He knew how they felt and so He sought to reassure them that it was truly Him and He was truly alive!

I also think that Christ’s compassion and care was expressed in how He chose to give solid proof that He was truly alive and not a ghost. He asked for something to eat.

Still they stood there doubting, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.’

There is something about eating together that causes walls to come down and doubts to clear. I learned that many years ago when I asked Susan and a group of young adults at the church to which I had just been appointed as youth pastor if they like to go out for pizza. She later told me that it made me a little more real and a lot less snobbish!

We have had a good breakfast this morning and we will, I trust and pray, have a good Easter dinner. But there is food that is more important than the food we eat (and overeat at times) it is the food that we feed our souls with.

In Mark chapter 7 Jesus makes clear that there is another kind of food necessary to our existence and He addresses it from the perspective of the kind of nourishment, or in this case, non-nourishment, it provides. We begin with verse 14:

‘Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do!” Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowds, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the statement he had made. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that what you eat won’t defile you? Food doesn’t come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then comes out again.” (By saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable.)

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