Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter changes everything


We love the idea of Easter.

It is about bunnies, eggs, chickens and chocolate
 
(I have an egg here. With the words ‘Death’ and ‘Myself’ painted on it. I had fun when I went into Thorntons!)

It is about hope: seeds in the ground are springing up into new life
It is about life after death: maybe there is something after this life
It is a story of how goodness, love and life win in the end.

But we have become too familiar, too comfortable with Easter. 

We have turned Easter into an idea, and forgotten that Easter was an event.

If you remember from our reading, the first reaction to the resurrection was not joy, but trembling, bewilderment and fear (Mark 16.8)

ON THAT FIRST EASTER GOD SHATTERS EVERYTHING. 

1. The resurrection shatters death.

Nobody expected anything would happen. He was dead. 

The women were coming to anoint his body. (ask for volunteers)
They bring spices (give them some spices from the spice cupboard!) – the best we can do in the face of death is to try and take away the smell of death. 
They come expecting to find a tomb with a great big rock in front of it. But it is gone. 
They come expecting to find a body in the tomb. But it is empty. 

And a man in white (dress child in white!) tells them that Jesus is risen and they are to go to Galilee to meet him.

How do they react? With joy? 

Not yet? This is too big for them. 

It is as if they have been living in a dark room for years, and suddenly someone turns on a light. They can’t face it. 

People who are dead do not rise from the dead. 

We try to challenge death. We spend billions on keeping ourselves alive as long as possible. Some even try to freeze their brains in the hope that in the future we may have advanced enough so that we can live for ever.

It really is like trying to break this egg with a plastic spoon. It can't be done.

The women were right to tremble and be afraid. It says that they legged it from the tomb and at first they did not say anything to anyone. 

I think that is very authentic. 
How would you react if you went out for the Easter egg hunt in the churchyard and see all the tombs blown apart? A strange person in white tells you: 'They're not dead. They've come back to life.'
I think you might be just a little scared. 

God shattered everything when Jesus rose from the dead. 

He shattered death

2. The resurrection shattered our self-centred world

Place a chair like a throne in the centre, and ask a child to sit on the throne as the king or queen.
Before Easter it is OK to think that I am in the centre of my life, that everything is dependent on me, that it is all about me: what I can do or achieve, about me proving myself, putting on a good show so that others are impressed with me, making life comfortable for me; it is about what others can do for me. 

The virtual worlds that we create are simply windows into the sort of real world that we seek to live in.

But if a man, a human being, rose from the dead and that man has defeated death - then he is bigger than the biggest force in this universe. And he is certainly bigger than you and me. You can't win against someone who has defeated death.

[Lord of the Rings. The army of the dead join the Fellowship of the Ring in their penultimate battle with the hordes of Mordor. It's very unfair. They're invincible. When Aragorn is about to let them go in peace, Gimley says to him, 'Don't do that. Very handy in a tight spot these lads - even though they are dead']

Jesus, of course, was not dead. He has gone into death, challenged death, shattered death and death cannot now touch him. 
And the bible says that God has "set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all people by raising him from the dead' (Acts 17.31) 

So it is now not OK to think it is about me. 
Because it is about him. He is the Lord.

Do you notice that the women are told to go to Galilee, where they will meet him? They have to obey – in this case, to go back to where it all began. And if we wish to meet with the risen Jesus, then we need to go back to the stories of Jesus, and we need to learn to walk with him, in obedience to him. 

(To volunteer). So I am sorry. Having sat you on the throne, I need to ask you to get off the throne. It is not for us. It is for him.

Jesus is risen from the dead. 

The resurrection shatters everything. 

(Smash egg with a rolling pin!)

It shatters our self-centred lives
It shatters death.

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