Summary: An Easter sermon on how Easter impacts us personally.
Norman Vincent Peale tells the story of the time he was invited to a luncheon in the great dining room of the London newspaper, The Times. Around the table sat distinguished editors and writers, as well as prominent businessmen. He had been invited by Lord Thomson of Fleet who owned 285 newspaper publications around the world. The conversation at the table ranged over world affairs, politics, the prospects for prosperity, and many other related topics.
But suddenly, in the middle of all the discussion, Lord Thomson said, “Dr. Peale, I’m an old man, and one of these days I’m going to die.” Immediately, an uneasy hush settled over the distinguished group of men. But he continued, “I want to know: is there an afterlife?” Dr. Peale hesitated for a moment, but then realizing the seriousness and the depth of the question he said, “I believe in the promises in the Bible. But beyond the Bible is the evidence of intelligence and common sense.”
“Suppose that somehow you could communicate with an unborn baby, who was still lying near its mother’s heart. And as you began to talk you tried to explain to that unborn child that in a short while he would not be able to continue life as he knew it. He would no longer be able to remain suspended in the protective, warm womb of his mother, but would have to leave and begin life in another world. You would call it ‘being born,’ but the unborn child would think of it as death. The child might even resist and say, ‘I do not want to leave. I am warm, loved, secure and happy.’ But the moment of birth comes in spite of his wishes. It seems to the child that he is violently expelled from life as he knew it. It is a cold, rough, uncomfortable environment at first. But in the next instant the child finds himself in the loving, adoring arms of his parent. He sees things he never knew before—things he could never have imagined. He realizes that this new world is a wonderful place, far greater than anything he could have experienced in his former state.”
“The years pass, and the child grows to have children of his own. As time goes on his step begins to slow, and he begins to realize that it is time to pass into yet another world. Some would call the passing death, others would call it birth. He might begin to object and say, ‘But I do not want to die. I have my loved ones, the security of my world and all its wonderful experiences. I want to stay here.’ But in the natural course of things, he dies. What happens then? Is God suddenly going to change? Or, can we not assume that this man will once again feel accepting arms beneath him, and be greeted by those who love him and were anticipating his arrival? Will he not look up into the strong, beautiful face of his heavenly Father who whispers words of love and excitement at his arrival? The violent expulsion into this new life will soon be forgotten as he looks about him and sees things he has never seen before; things which his mind could never have imagined.” There was a settled hush in the group as the reality of what Dr. Peale was saying sank in.