Easter Sunday Resurrection Life

Props : Happy Easter helium balloons to decorate the church and give out to baptism candidates.

One ballooon must have a smiley face, on the reverse side draw the opposite with an indelible marker, for the sermon illustration.

It was over a cuppa, after last week’s Sunday evening service that someone who is a strong and very committed Christian remarked, ‘This service has had me asking myself, ‘Am I really living a Resurrection life?’

I thought, ‘Of course you are, it shines out of you.’

I didn’t say that to her, but it made me realise that outward appearance doesn’t always reveal all. We with the 'masks' we sometimes wear, cover up our feelings and true expressions so well.

It was an excellent question she was asking; deeply open and honest, which is in itself a resurrection quality… but here she was wondering.

But what a wonderful question for ALL of us to ask ourselves on Easter Sunday morning!

Are we really living the Resurrection life?

Indeed, how would we define a Resurrection life?’

There was once an elderly lady who lived right next door to a church, and when some well meaning Christian from that church met her in the street, she asked her why it was that she never attended that church, when it was so handy for her to do so.

She replied,

‘Huh I’ve watched them come out after their service, and I’ve seen the look on their faces and there’s no way I would want to go in there.’

(SHOW SAD FACE OF BALLOON)

So what if the faces of those coming out were contemplating, or reflecting upon the sermon, what if there had been a sad announcement there, such as a death… does that mean that the Christians with faces like this…are not living a Resurrection life? I dodn't think so, unless of course they always come out like that.

Or take for example those who put on broad smiles and go around welcoming others with loud elaborate gestures, ‘Does that make them a Christian living a Resurrection life?

(SHOW BALLOON WITH SMILING FACE)

I remember going in to a Christian bookshop once, and an acquaintance from the time of Days of Renewal saw me with my sister as we walked out of the shop.

He was very…'demonstrative', always smiling, always loud…and he said, ‘SHEEEEEE-ILLLLAAAA!’

And I was caught up in a great big bear hug.

When he released me, I said, ‘Have you met my sister Joan?

I’ve never seen her move as quickly, She thrust out her hand to its fullest extension, and said, ‘Pleased to meet you!’

The arm said it all. One step more mate and you’re dead!

But just because this guy had a smile like this from ear to ear, does this make him a Christian who lives a Resurrection life?

If we can’t tell from an outward expression, is it in the eyes, do they really mirror the soul?

Is it something to do with length of their Christian service and how faithful you’ve been, or even the type of church you attend?

Is it something to do with a religious experience?

No, I think it has more to do with how we handle life, when we experience the Good Fridays of our lives. That’s when you can really tell.

When we experience hardship, or tragedy, or there's a situation we would love to change but can't; is there deep despair?

When we feel we have failed God, how do we honestly react, do we live with constant guilt?

When someone makes a genuine mistake or gets into trouble do we join the critics, or inwardly rejoice? When gossiping tongues begin, does it stop at you?

Do we live the defeated life or do we have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ?

At the end of a long and emotional holy week, where we have had such dear friends torn from our fellowship and community, what should be our reaction as we pray,’Father into your hands we commit them?’To trust and hope or worry and despair?

There is a part of scripture where it says,

Be joyful ALWAYS ;giving thanks to God in ALL circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus(1 Thessalonians 5.18)

How hard is this if someone dies, or a child is born deformed or a bomb kills and maims?

Can you imagine how someone would feel if you flippantly said, Well praise the Lord anyway!

But if this IS God's word, then we ought to pray Father ‘We don't understand why but we thank you because you MUST have something, that you want them to do for you where they are going to!’

Asylum seekers who are deported must think very badly of our government's methods, but I know that many are very grateful to the many genuine supporters Christian, and non Christian, who have helped to sustain them on their journeying.

Through praise and thanksgiving, we as Christians, release God’s power to work a victory.

No doubt Mary on her way to the tomb, was asking questions,

Why did he have to die?

Were have they taken him?

Her face changed from this(SAD TO HAPPY BALLOON) to THIS!

His face was changed from death to life, from this to this (SAD TO HAPPY BALLOON). No wonder she hardly recognised him.

One minute he was dead, the next he was wonderfully alive!

She knew the resurrection joy we should know today.

What do people see in us at times we OUGHT to be bowed down,

Do they see we have the victory?

Thanks be to God who GIVES us the victory, (over death)through Jesus Christ our Lord,(1 Cor15:57)

Is it obvious that Christ is alive in our lives?

So there we have it, as Christians we are under scrutiny; we're being watched whether we know it or not, and not just examined by those who live nearby, but by everyone we meet, ESPECIALLY those who are our nearest and dearest.

What kind of message of a living faith do we reveal to them?

When we praise God and thank him not ‘for’ but ‘in’ every situation in life that we find difficult, something begins to bubble up. Jesus called it a Spring of Living Water.

I experienced an Easter Sunday experience, with very small children; KS1, the other day, when I put on a lively Easter C.D.at the end of their assembly. I showed the children a very small visual aid which we had made in Godly Play, a whirly gig which is simply a piece of string attached to a wooden peg attached to a longish strip of crepe paper streamer...

and when I began to whirl the gig, at the first chorus, they all just began to clap spontaneously in time to the music.

I’ve never known this happen in all my years doing school assemblies.

It was just as though those living waters had risen up like a living fountain.

The children lifted me up, when I was down, through thanking and praising God and getting caught up in joy.

I’m going to play that track for you now and see if the waters flow.

Or you can if you want just gently close your eyes, and ask God for a victory in some small area of your life that hangs upon you like a dead weight.

And resurrection will come to you, as surely as Easter Sunday follows Good Friday.

A very Happy Easter to you all.

C.D.: from ‘Songs for Every Easter’ by Mark and Helen Johnson. Track 5 Easter Jubilation.

OUT OF THE ARK MUSIC

Sefton House,

2 Molelsly Road, Hersham Green,

Surry

KT12 4RQ

Prayer to follow;

Lord Jesus,

So often we are like the Mary in grief and turmoil and sometimes despair; so often we sound as though the defeated life is ours, but on this glorious Easter morning, may we hear you call us by name and bring us back form the dead.

Reveal to us the beautiful countenance that should be ours as people who know you; ours by right as people who have been saved by your grace.

Burst through into the depths of our being with new life and energy to be powerful witnesses to your truth in this world.

Cause our love for all humankind to spark into flame, and let all those who come into contact with us, see you reflected in us.

When we come to place our daffodils at the foot of the Cross of flowers, set us on fire for you, bring new joy and laughter to our hearts, and give us a unity we’ve not known before here in this place of worship.

Amen

‘Am I really living a Resurrection life?’

‘Huh I’ve watched them come out after their service, and I’ve seen the look on their faces and there’s no way I would want to go in there.’

what if there had been a sad announcement there,

Broad smiles and gestures ~ Does that make them a Christian living a Resurrection life?

‘SHEEEEEE-ILLLLAAAA!’

If we can’t tell from an outward expression, is it in the eyes,

length of their Christian service

how faithful you’ve been, or

even the type of church you attend?

Is it something to do with a religious experience?

More to do withGood Fridays of our lives.

Hardships/failure/genuine mistakes?

Be joyful ALWAYS ;giving thanks to God in ALL circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus(1 Thessalonians 5.18) Flippant /cruel

Asylum and Mary

ESPECIALLY those who are our nearest and dearest.

‘In’ not ‘for…living water &

Jubilee school