for Sunday, April 20, 2014
Resurrection of the Lord
lectionary focus: John 20:1-18
Happy Easter! Alleluia! (Alleluia!) Look at all of the flowers! We have filled so many vases! The flowers make the sanctuary look lovely, and after our service, we will deliver them to members of our church family who are sick and ill and cannot be here today. Thank you for sharing with them in this way.
The flowers you have brought come from many places. Some of you got them at the store, some from the farmers’ market, some from your yard, some from your gardens. But each of them came from God’s earth. Flowers are part of plants. Flowers have the important job of making seeds; the seeds are how the plant makes more plants. And each year, each plant makes more flowers to make more seeds. Flowers are part of the beautiful cycle of God’s green earth. Flowers are God’s beautiful creations. And flowers make people smile.
Today is Easter Sunday. Alleluia! (Alleluia!) The Easter story begins with Jesus’s friends being sad. Jesus has died on the cross. The women are going to the cemetery to finish the funeral service. When they get there, something seems very wrong. The stone door has been moved and the tomb is empty. Jesus’s friends think someone has taken the body of Jesus. There is much confusion. Mary stands there in the cemetery, crying and frustrated. She sees a man. Mary thinks He must be the gardener…
Now we know that a gardener’s job is make sure the plants have what they need to grow and bloom and be beautiful. Gardeners work hard to make sure the plants are well cared for. Our Bible story today does not describe the cemetery, so I don’t know if the first Easter was abloom with so many flowers like our sanctuary today. But when Mary thinks that Man is just the gardener, she is wrong…but she is right. That Man, of course, is Jesus, alive, risen from the dead. That Man is not the gardener of the cemetery; that Man is Jesus, the gardener of the whole world, and we are His flowers. Jesus cares for us, making sure we have what we need to grow and bloom and be beautiful. You are each God’s beautiful creation. And Jesus is the Gardener who cares for us.
During the past few weeks as we have prepared for the mystery and joy of Easter, we have practiced Almsgiving. We have shared items with those in need that they may know God’s love. Today is Easter. Alleluia! (Alleluia!) Today is why we are here every Sunday. Today Jesus overcame all of the sorrow and cruelty and trouble of the world so that we live beautiful, everlasting lives. Today we begin the Seven Sundays of Easter…because Easter is too big to celebrate for just one Sunday. Today we are overcome by the mystery and joy of Easter. And today we reach out again with almsgiving; we share these flowers here in these vases, but we also pledge to continue sharing ourselves. Mary was right. Jesus is the Gardener of the whole world. We are His beautiful flowers, here to share His love and make others smile.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
for the flowers.
for being our Gardener.
to continue sharing Your love
throughout our lives,
in the garden of Your world.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.