Based on John 20:19-31
Written by Gordon Barbosa, Lay Leader
Written By Rev. Kris Russell
Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Once again, Christ is risen! Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia. It’s Easter. We have made it through the passion story, we have taken the last supper, we have wept on Good Friday. We have heard the story with its references to finality and endings. And suddenly it’s Easter. It’s new life and new beginnings and it’s here today. Suddenly that finality and those endings are meaningless. Suddenly everything changes.
And that’s the story, that’s the truth of Easter, this changes everything. Change, that word, that concept. The dictionary defines change this way; to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc. of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.
I’ll be clear here, I hate change! Give me my daily routine with no detours and I’m happy but here change is a whole new ballgame. To make the future course of something different from what it would be if left alone. All our future courses have changed because of that long ago, Sunday morning. It changed the disciples’ lives, it changed the world, it changes us. Let’s look at the word Easter for some hints on what this day changes for us.
Before I start, I want to acknowledge an important aspect of today’s gospel. The women started it. The women were the first to carry the good news to the unbelieving eleven. Right off the bat the Easter story changes the gender dynamic in first century Palestine trusting the most important news in history to the second-class citizens, the women. What a radical change of pace and what a message to us today. The gospel story may be brought to us by the least expected. Let’s listen to the story no matter who brings it to us. And, no matter who we are we can carry the story to others. Maybe we will change them too.
So the word Easter. E A S T E R. E is for everything. It changes everything as we said before. It is everything we as Christians believe. Everything comes down to that day. The reason we worship today is because of that day. Everything, Easter is everything, everything completed, everything fulfilled, everything changed.
A is for abundance. The way we look at the world and what it gives us is changed. Don’t believe in Easter abundance? Take a walk through the botanical gardens one afternoon and see creation’s abundance shouting with spring alleluias! Abundant creation and abundant life, given freely and wastefully by a God who never changes but changes everything. Jesus promises us abundance at every turn, and it is up to us to claim it. Change your perspective and gather it in.
S is for sin. Oh, that scary word that we don’t use a lot at Evergreen. Sin is a word that means missing the mark and I don’t know about you, but I miss the mark every day but Easter changes that. Sin is forgotten, forgiven. We are released from its hold on us and we are free. Sin is changed, deleted, disappeared. We are given free life, freedom from the chains of behaviors which held us back and limited us. Easter is the agent of unlimited love and sin redefined and taken care of.
T is for triumph. That sin we talked about. We triumph over it. The death, the finality of good Friday? Easter triumphs over it. Whatever limits us, defeats us, causes us fear Easter triumphs over it. Jesus invites us to triumph with him. As he triumphs over death and hell, we triumph over limitations and old thinking. Easter changes our losing to winning. Triumph is ours.
The last E is for exuberance. Back there with abundance, Easter is an exuberant season. Alleluias resound again and focus returns to life and living. Everything seemed to end that stormy Friday, but Sunday came, and everything started again, with exuberance. The sunrise, the disciples, the church, the world, everything alive with exuberance and joy. From mourning to dancing as the prophet shares. What is more exuberant than dancing? Easter is the dance beyond all dances. Life partners with us and we join the celebration of exuberance and love.
Finally, the R is for resurrection. All those words associated with Easter are fulfilled today. Resurrection, renewal, rejuvenation, reunion, reorder. All those words, all those concepts are summed up in one triumphant Sunday. This Sunday, Easter Sunday. What needs to be resurrected in your life? What appears dead that needs new life? Easter is the time to look at rebuilding and remaking those places in your life ready to live again. A relationship? A practice that brought you joy that you set aside?!? Easter is the time to bring those things back, to renew and reclaim the things that brought you happiness. Resurrection, the ultimate change is here today! Alleluia!
So yes, everything has changed. This day changes everything. From death and sin to our loss and sadness, everything changes with the resurrection of Christ. Easter, everything, abundance, sin, triumph, exuberance and resurrection. Words that define a day and define us as followers of Christ. Take this message out with you today and change the world! Alleluia, amen.
Diana Hunter is our Senior Pastor;