Alleluia! A Wonder-Full Easter!

for Sunday, April 8, 2012
Easter
lectionary focus: John 20:1-18
prop: the Alleluia box–which is now empty because you have privately removed the paper with the word Alleluia and resealed the box
(Note: If you did not use the Packing Away the Alleluia–scroll down and use the second sermon listed here.)

Good morning!
Happy Easter!
It is so great to see everyone today!

And I am so excited that we get to open this box! Do you remember what is in here? Do you remember that long ago on February 26 we packed away “that word” for the season of Lent? Well, Lent is over; Easter is here; today we celebrate that Jesus Christ is risen for us forever! Are you ready for me to open the box so we can all shout?

(open the empty Alleluia box)

Wait. Where’s the Alleluia? There’s nothing in here. It’s empty. There must be a mistake. Is it lost? You don’t think someone stole it? I am feeling very confused and kinda mad and even a little embarrassed and sad.

Today we celebrate Easter. And a few thousand years ago, Jesus had just died. On that first Easter, Mary and some friends went to the cemetery to finish the funeral service for Jesus. But when they got there, the tomb where Jesus’s body had been placed was empty. The tomb was open and it was empty. Mary and the others were confused. They got mad thinking someone had stolen His body. They were sad. And then Mary saw a man that she thought was the gardener of the cemetery…but He was Jesus, the gardener of the whole world. Jesus’s body was not in the tomb because Jesus was risen from the dead. He was no longer dead. He was alive. He was there with them. He is here with us.

The Alleluia is not in the box because the Alleluia is here with us, inside each of us. We cannot really pack away a word…just as Jesus cannot be kept in a tomb. Jesus is the Risen Lord. There is no mistake. There is no sorrow. There is no confusion. He is not lost. He continues to live with each and all of us, always, here, inside our hearts.

And so let us rejoice in the Lord!
Let us shout “that word” together: ALLELUIA!

(Note: there are many Alleluia songs designed for children’s choirs…if your children know one of these songs, this would be a good time for them to sing it.)

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
We praise Your name!
We are thankful
that You are living
here with us
in our hearts.
Help us to share
Your forever love.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Amen

Easter Sermon #2…for those who did not Pack Away the Alleluia

lectionary focus: John 20:1-18
prop: an egg

Good morning!
Happy Easter!

This is an egg. This kind of egg comes from a chicken. In our culture we have many questions about eggs and chickens, like: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why did the chicken cross the road? Which end of an egg do you crack? We don’t really expect an answer with these questions. These questions are asked to make us wonder. When we wonder, we think and maybe ask more questions. Our Bible stories often make us wonder. Today’s story certainly does.

In the Book of John, Jesus has died on the cross and then 3 days later, Mary and some friends went to the cemetery to finish the funeral service for Jesus. But when they got there, the tomb where Jesus’s body had been placed was empty. The tomb was open and it was empty. Mary and the others were confused. They got mad thinking someone had stolen His body. They were sad. And then Mary saw a man that she thought was the gardener of the cemetery…but He was Jesus, the gardener of the whole world. Jesus’s body was not in the tomb because Jesus was risen from the dead. He was no longer dead. He was alive. He was there with them. He is here with us.

The word wonder can mean to think and ask questions–and don’t you know that Mary and the disciples had plenty of questions on that first Easter! But the word wonder can have another meaning–when we are filled with wonder, it means we are full of joy and excitement–and don’t you know that Mary and the disciples were filled with wonder to see the Risen Lord!

Today is Easter. Our Bible story today is the Easter story. It is the most wonder-full story in the Bible. Today we hear the good news and we are filled with joy and excitement. I wonder if each of us can carry this wonder–this overflowing joy of God’s love–in our hearts every day and every where?

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Our lives make us wonder.
But Your life
fills us with wonder.
Help us to share
the wonder of Your love.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Amen

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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