Easter Day 2010 Ocean Forest after viewing media clip, “Alive” Alive! John 20 How do you know? Do you know? Can you believe? Can you trust? Can you bear witness today? Like the people we have just seen, each of us has our story. We have a beginning. We are living a childhood, a teenage season, an adult life. We are involved in looking to our future. Are we restless about our world? Restless about the world and its future, with all its issues of global warming, climate change, degradation and the fear these new realities bring? Are we restless about people: with all their terrorism, tribal and religious division, political imbalance of power, cultural and language difference, poverty, propensity to fight on a national scale and in the living room at home; our propensity for violence and racism and hatred we hear in the news? Are we restless about our relationships: will my partner and I make it? Will I ever find a soul mate? Will I do a good job of parenting? Will I enjoy my life with others around me? Will my life count and will I be surrounded by a loving family and community at the end? Are we restless about ourselves: Is my life going to count with God? Am I going to make a contribution for the world and for my local community? Can I rise above the petty issues of others and find a vision for my work and my family that brings out the best in the people around me and is immensely satisfying and fulfilling? On this Easter Day, are we wild and feeling out of control? Are we addicted? Are we feeling lost and alone most of the time? Does is feel empty on the inside these days? Have I got a big mask, or several masks on to hide the real me for fear of being seen and misunderstood or hurt? These are the real things we face. It is just that we can’t or won’t tell anyone – including God. Maybe we have tried. Maybe we feel it was not worth it and have decided to leave it alone and get on with all of the above. Enter Easter. Enter the crucified, dead and buried man of sorrow now striding out of the tomb and leading us out of our restlessness and worry in one decisive move! The apostles bear witness to the reality that he did what no other human being could do. He beat down evil and death. He even beat down out fatally flawed human condition of brokenness and sin. He took the consequences of all this evil within and around us. He drained the cup of human aggression, violence, deceit and pain to its end. He sucked up the just judgement of a holy God on these things in his own godly body. No one else could do it. No one else had the bare love and courage to do this love for people who did not understand it, value it or want it. Though no one understands, he still loves. “Father, forgive them”, the Crucified God says to those crucifying him. Has there been a greater, deeper, more courageous and complete love? “Greater love has no one than to lay down his own life for his friends” says the crucified One. What about laying down you own life for your enemies? How deep the Saviour’s love for us, rich beyond all human measure! Friends the time for fear of God and avoidance of his call is past. Perfect love in this triumphant divine man drives out all of our worries and fears on this Day of all days. God’s fair and righteous judgement on all that is unclean, unholy and unhealthy is passed. Because of this Easter Jesus, the war between us is over. God is no longer a lawgiver and keeper. He never really was, but in our limited understanding and self-centred view, that is how we saw him. He has thrown caution to the wind and run down the driveway to embrace us in our pain and self-righteousness. A billion people over thousands of years have experienced his rampant grace and love and still are. Like the people in the media scene, we have a date…or maybe several dates of encounter with the Divine Love. The date to call upon is the date of baptism, where all that he accomplished and fulfilled for us was handed to us as pure gift. Ever since we have had ongoing markers of renewal, moments of experience of his love, glimpses of his peace which is beyond all human peace. No troubles today – just for a day – just the deep joy of being in the love of God and the power of his resurrection. His resurrection power is still here and he is still with. My future is not known or predictable. With this resurrected Saviour and guide, my life can be extraordinary and of huge value to him and his mission to draw all things into his grace. Let him crack the exterior today. Let him see behind the masks and rest in him. It’s Easter. It’s a day for resting in the peace of the Messiah and celebrating our life together in him. It’s a day to give him all the glory and praise for all that he has accomplished and all that he is still to do with us and through us. We have seen the Lord. We have heard him speak this Easter. We will hear him again as we live in his resurrection power and his unending love and grace. Bless the Lord, my soul and praise his holy name! Amen