Sermon Preached on Sunday 20th April 2014 in Church of the Resurrection - Blarney
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be now and always acceptable in thy sight O Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen
Today we celebrate the power of God to change everything ... Completely and utterly everything
- · World Views changed .... From what we see to the potential of eternity
- Identity changed ... Sin and death has been removed from our identity and we are now one with God ...
- · Mission has taken on a whole new emphasis
In a song we sang both on Thursday and Friday night ..."History was split in two "
And this is what indeed did change ... Life itself fundamentally changed
Before Christ and after Christ ...
When we think about our identity ... And how God sees us as individuals and us as a church. The cross and the tomb are crucial this.
What happened that Easter Day is crucial ... Sin was defeated on the cross ... And death was defeated in the garden tomb the consequences of this
This morning I would like to take a look at 3 particular changes
... Hope has been restored
... Life takes on new significance
... Love has a new definition
Hope has been restored.
The disciples hopes and dreams were shattered on Good Friday ... Life as they knew it had come to an end ... What they thought would happened didn't ... Who they thought he was... He wasn't
They were in fear, they were so distraught ... What was it about ... They withdrew ... They had let him down. Life couldn't get any worse ... They were without any hope whatsoever.
I don't know if you've been in that place ... Can't see any light in the darkness ... Or worse ... Can't see the potential of light ... No source of any hope from any quarter. It is not a nice place to be at all. If you've been there ... You were in good company ... The disciples, countless saints ancient and modern have all stood there.
The dark night of the soul
But wherever that place in our lives is... Easter bursts in ... There may be pain, there may be emotional turmoil ... There may be despair ... There may be grief... There may be fear But there is surprising hope ... And the only place that this sort of hope rests ... is in the creator God who created us and who can put in a plan to sort this sort of despair out.
Life Takes on new significance
The disciples themselves are part of the evidence of the fact of the resurrection ... From cowards to fearless proclaimers of the risen Christ ... From deniers to being prepared to face death and persecution themselves. The apostles who are sent go and take the message from Jerusalem, the ends of the earth.
When life takes on new significance ... Life becomes a gift from God ... Which he has given each person unique passions, gifts and opportunities. He gives us a general task and specific plans. It's up to us how we fulfil those with the decisions we make and how much we involve him in those is up to us. But within the resurrection we see the out working of Gods plan for the church and for individuals within that just. In today's reading we see bereaved women being changed into the first apostles sent to tell the disciples that Jesus is on his way!
Yes there may be pains from the past ... God doesn't take those away ... But he can redeem them ... He can weave them into an even greater plan ... Look at peter ... We'll see how Jesus is able to weave his denial into a greater relationship opportunity and commission to go and do greater things.
The new significance is that life eternal begins now ! ... Eternal life is not pie in the sky when you die ... But a renewed creation here and now ... With life potential right here right now. So what are we going to do about it
Love has a new definition
... This is crucial ... We see this in the facts of the past few days ... Love is God serving humanity ... Jesus the servant washing the disciples feet, Jesus the messiah willingly dying in our place, speaking so tenderly to Mary ... Forgiving those who were killing him
We also see this definition being worked out as Jesus appears to the disciples and helps them through their unbelief, their own issues ... Cleopas ... Thomas, Peter and the others
These three things are so vitally important to us as we sit here in Blarney this morning ... Whoever we are we need to know
In Christ ... Hope is restored ... Whatever ... And I mean whatever we're going through now or whatever the future holds
Easter reminds us that there is always hope ... Whatever the disaster ... Whatever the situation ..
In our generation there seems to be such a loss of perspective ... People loosing hope ... In Easter we proclaim that there is always hope ... We are a people of hope
Life's meaning ... Our purpose ... What we are here to do ... What life is all about are huge questions ... The Easter message confronts us with the God of mission ... Who has created us humans ... Fearfully and wonderfully made ... Who has given us passions, things we are good at, things that fire us and places where we can do those things. He wants us to flourish ... Yes we might stuggle sometimes but he wants what is the very best for us.
Love's definition has changed to a whole new level of meaning ... Jesus died for us... He died for you and for me ... Not because he had to but because he wanted to ... God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that who so ever
So with these 3 things what do we do?
Hope, Life and love
I finish with a story which appears in “The Gospel according to Starbucks”
There once was a rather rough, uncultured man who for some reason fell in love with a beautiful and hugely expensive antique vase in a shop window. Eventually, after saving for a considerable time, he bought the vase and put it on the mantelpiece in his room. There it became a kind of judgment on its surroundings. He had to clean up the room to make it worthy of the vase. The curtains looked dingy beside it. The old chair with the stuffing coming out of the seat would not do. The wallpaper and the paint needed redoing. Gradually the whole room was transformed.
God wants to transform into the people he would have us be … none of us are a finished work
But we need to work with him in this process … he will never force us to do anything.
In our questions, in in our doubts in our work and in life he is working his purposes out