Summary: The light of the world has come. He has risen.

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The Light that Changed the World

John 20:1-18

April 8, 2007

Easter Sunday

How many government bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They contract out for things like that.

How many politicians does it take to change a light bulb? Four. One to change it and three to deny it.

How does an engineer change a light bulb? As long as the lighting level is within operational parameters, he doesn’t.

How many Pentagon procurement officers does it take to change a light bulb? Look, for only $87 billion, we can put up this chain of fluorescent satellites that will illuminate the whole planet.

How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? How many can you afford? You knew I was going to get around to a lawyer joke sooner or later, didn’t you?

I got on my computer the other day and googled “Light Bulb Jokes.” What came up was page after page of jokes. I spent about a half hour scrolling through the jokes, and these were the only ones that even came close to being OK to tell in church.

I always hate to predict the future, but I am going to go out on a limb here. I predict that within just a few years time, most if not all, of the light bulbs in our homes and offices will be CFL’s. I just read that Wal-Mart has a new goal to sell one of these light bulbs to each of its 100 million regular customers during the next year. In fact, they have made a decision to replace all of the light bulbs in the ceiling fan displays in their stores with these new bulbs. They estimate that they will save $6 million a year in energy costs.

If this is new to you, CFL stands for “Compact Fluorescent Lights.” According to an article I found on the internet this past week which was posted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (, these are bulbs that use 2/3 less energy than a normal bulb for the same amount of light, but last ten times longer. They generate 70% less heat and will save $30 dollars in energy costs over the bulb’s lifetime. The only problem is that they contain mercury, so disposal becomes a little bit of an issue. You can’t just throw them in your neighborhood landfill.

I honestly don’t know the science involved here (and I’m sure that there is another side to this), but they say that if every homeowner in the United States changed just one regular light bulb for a new CFL bulb, we could eliminate levels of pollution equivalent to that produced by 1.3 million cars or save enough electricity to power a city of 1.5 million people. On the surface, this sounds like a very simple solution to some very complex problems.

Last week following worship, Alex Taylor asked me why I tied a rope around my waist. There are two answers to that question: a simple one and a not-so-simple-one. I, being who I am, of course chose the not-so-simple answer.

The simple answer to that question is that I use that rope to hold my robe together. It’s sort of like the joke, “Why does a firefighter wear suspenders? To keep his pants up.” But I didn’t tell him that. No, not me. Why would I give a simple answer when I had a chance to show him how smart I am?

I took him back to Medieval Monasticism and told him about men who gathered together into communities called monasteries. They wore simple robes like this one as a symbol that none was more important than any other. I then explained that my scapular evolved from the monastic aprons that they wore. I watched his eyes sort of glaze over at this point. He didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to know why there was a rope around my waist.

So, I am going to try to not make that mistake again. Let me be clear about his day. Here is the simple truth. This is the truth that we all need to hear, the truth for which the world waits, the truth on which hinges all of human history: Christ is risen. This is Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today, we discover that the tomb was empty. The cross was empty. The stone has been rolled away. Our Lord has risen from the dead.

Last Christmas, we read the Gospel of John. He said that Jesus was the light that shines in the darkness. This light shining in the darkness cannot be extinguished. It cannot be defeated by the darkness. Today, we realize that the long week of Passion is over. Try as he might, Satan did not win the battle. Sin did not win. Evil did not win. The darkness did not win. The light that first shone on Christmas morning is still burning brightly, never to be snuffed out.

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