He is Risen Alleluia!
Tonight is the most important night of the year.
Tonight we celebrate the victory of Jesus over sin and even death itself.
Both his early disciples and we finally understand without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is really the Lamb of God once slain who lives forever.
The members of the early church found great solace and hope in the Resurrection.
Their experience of the Risen Lord radically changed their lives forever.
What was at once important to them became unimportant
What once frightened them even terrified, them had no power over them.
Fortified by their resurrection faith they travelled to every corner of the world, to share their resurrection faith with anyone who would listen.
The hope and faith which began in the backwater capital of a tiny insignificant country spread throughout the whole world.
And in three short centuries the Good News of Jesus Christ won the hearts of the entire Roman Empire which had for those same 3 centuries tried to do everything it could to stamp it out.
So strong was their faith that the first disciples willingly suffered any hardship rather than renounce their faith.
And over and over again they went to their death rather than remain silent because they understood that death had no power over them.
Tonight like the early Church we too dare to hope.
We dare to hope that we are loved and cherished by God.
And we dare to call God Abba just as Jesus taught us.
And we dare to believe that our sins and the sins of the whole world can be forgiven because Jesus God himself paid the price for our reconciliation.
Tonight we dare to hope that it is possible for us to love and be loved.
Tonight we dare to hope that death does not have the final word and we dare to believe that our destiny is not to rot in some grave but rather to live forever in the loving presence of God.
So our resurrection faith should also cause us all to see life in a different way.
It should challenge us to heroically discard anything that holds us back from being the men and women that God wants and needs us to be.
Our faith should challenge us to reevaluate our values and goals.
For over two thousand years men and women young and old rich and poor have huddled around the Easter fire filled with new hope that only our faith can give.
Today our world seems lost in the darkness of anger and violence.
So many terrible things have happened since the last time we gathered around the Easter fire.
- The events in Brussels and Paris and all over the world bring a tear to our eyes.
- The suffering of so many men and women young and old fleeing the civil war in Syria is heart wrenching.
- The sight of the lifeless body of that little boy that washed up on the shore of Greece is an icon to world which is losing hope.
- The genocide of the Christians in the Middle East leaves us speechless.
- The horrible tone that our political discourse has taken almost leaves us in shock when we watch the Evening News.
All of these thing could easily cause one to despair.
But we will not despair .
Hate doesn’t have to win it is not as strong as it appears.
Hate did not win on the cross.
Power did not win on the cross.
Anger did not win on the cross.
The cross that Jesus carried and his resurrection teaches us that sacrificial love is the only answer to hate.
None of the suicide bombers or no one filled with hate has risen from the dead.
Jesus’ suffering on cross and His resurrection teach us that you can’t out hate hate.
And so dear friends on the Easter night let us remember and find comfort in the reason for our hope.
He is Risen Alleluia
He is Risen AlleluiaHe is Risen Alleluia Amen