Easter Day, Part 2

Bluebell of Scotland

A friend is talking to a coworker [this after I had invited her to bring her family to Easter worship with us. Her response? "Sunday is my one day of the week to sleep in"]. She said, "I asked my son if he wanted to hunt eggs this year. 'Of course!' So we’ll spend Saturday decorating eggs. I sure hope the weather is nice on Sunday morning so we can go outside!"

I don’t know. Perhaps she’ll take her family to church after all… I mean, there is a church near here that is holding an Easter Raffle of 3/D TVs and game consoles to get people to church!

It is actually sad that so many will celebrate the day of Resurrection apart from the fellowship of the church. But perhaps it is even sadder that some feel the need to be bribed in order to come to church.

I think the church is to blame for this.

For too long we’ve offered a God of wrath. And people don’t want to be in the presence of an angry God.

For too long we’ve offered a God of vengeance. And people don’t want to hear of a God who gets even.

For too long we’ve offered a God who is to be feared. And why should we expect anyone to want to be in a relationship with one of whom they are afraid.

I don’t know, if all I heard of was a God whose anger destroys nations or who is intent on making people pay with their lives for committing the smallest error, or who is so fearful as to make me not want to be anywhere close by that kind of God, I think you’d pretty much have to bribe me to come to church. Or else I’d just stay home and eat chocolate bunnies all day long.

If there is anything that we can take away from this morning it is this: If God were all these things—wrathful, vengeful, fearful—don’t you think we’d all be goners? I mean, we put Jesus up there on that cross. We made him suffer in unbelievable agony. We killed him. If ever there was a reason for us to fear the anger and vengeance of God, well, this’d be that time.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, what we got was an offer of new life, a chance to turn around. What we got was not a God of wrath, but a God of joy. Not a God of vengeance, but of forgiveness. Not a God of fear, but a God of love.

This is the God we’ve come to be with today. And this is the God which the church—each and every one of us—needs to show forth with praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives.

So. As you leave here today and go do those things families do on Easter, don’t just talk about the beautiful flowers or the great singing or the wonderful aromas or the great preaching. Talk about God in Christ. Talk about Joy. Proclaim Forgiveness. Share God’s Love. If we do these things. If we proclaim in our lives the gift given to us this day of new life in Christ, we won’t have to resort to bribery to bring people in. They’ll be waiting in line.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

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