For so many years Easter was filled with messages about how Jesus was raised from the dead. The story from John 20 or Luke 24 was faithfully shared with passion and joy. It was treated as the “be-all, end-all” story of our faith. The stone was rolled away. John and Peter encountered angels. Mary saw the risen Jesus. And the preacher leaves worship, happy that the story was repeated once again. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, Indeed!
May I say — so what! I am glad to know that Jesus was raised from the dead, but there are times I need to know if new life is possible for me. I am desperate to find out if resurrection is a present-day reality and if so, how? I would bet that there are people who will be in your Easter service who feel the same way. One of my favorite – so what – stories comes from Acts 10. It’s the story of Peter’s vision. You know – the one where he dreams about a sheet with all types of animals on it and he hears God saying, “don’t call unclean what I have called clean.” I particularly love these words:
Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another.”
It doesn’t take much to go back and remember Peter’s story in a fuller way. He was the one who declared Jesus as the Christ and promised to follow him, even if it cost him his life. He was the one who tried to hide the fact that he knew Jesus at all, that evening by the fire. (Do you hear a rooster crowing?) Peter was the one who had a conversation with the risen Jesus. He was the one Jesus tasked with the call to “feed my sheep.” This man, Peter, who knew the ups and downs of walking in faith, is the very one who shares the love of Jesus with people who were once considered outsiders – not welcome – not even eligible for God’s grace.
Peter teaches us that because of the power of the resurrection – failure is not fatal.
You may have made some mistakes in your life. Some of them may have broken relationships, lost jobs, torn families apart, put you in a jail cell or caused you to live in a cell not made with steel bars. Here is the good news this Easter – the power of the resurrection is here to transform your life. If you will receive that truth, then you may be just the person God uses to open closed doors or build bridges between people. You may be the person who figures out how to bring healing to the wounds of our church or our society. You could be the one who creates a foodbank, or starts a ministry for single parents, or befriends an elderly person who is alone. You might be the one who makes God’s love real for someone else.
This Easter please don’t preach about the resurrection of Jesus. The people have heard that story. Talk about resurrection in all of its power for today. Dare to be bold enough to find ways to roll away stones, to empower people the walk out healed and filled with new life. Just imagine what God will do then.
Rev. N. Susan Brims
Missional Strategist & Superintendent