Rev Bill\’s Sermons

April 13, 2009

John 20:1-18.09

Filed under: John — revbill @ 2:27 pm

John 20:1-18

“Easter Means Changed Lives: Mary’s Story”

Easter Communion

April 12,2009

Read Scripture

Easter is the most joyously celebrative day in the Christian year.

You can tell it in the beauty of the sanctuary.

You could tell it in the beautifully celebrative Community Service we had this morning – and the celebration of fellowship over good food afterwards.

You can tell it in the beauty of the music.

You can tell it in the beauty of the service as we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion.

All these elements work together to make this day the high point of our worship for the Christian year.

But what really makes today the high point of the Christian year – the reason we celebrate and fellowship in such a joyous way today — is the fact that this is our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus – the way He can change our lives – and the hope for new life in heaven as well as new hope a changed life here and now.

The resurrection of Christ is what makes us Christians – it is God’s response to sin and death – God’s assurance that sin and death do not have to have power over us – but that we can have hope through our risen Lord Jesus Christ.

For the next few weeks we are going to look at several people who had experiences with the risen Christ – and had their lives changed. As we look at their stories, we’ll see how the resurrection of Christ can change us – change our lives – change our Church – change our community – and change our world.

Easter means changed lives.

The resurrection of Christ means changed lives.

God is changing lives. God can change our lives – can change our Church – can change our community – and can change our world.

God can make our lives – our Church – our community – and our world — new.

God is up to doing something that is new and marvelous.

God is changing us – changing our lives – changing our Church – changing our community and changing our world — in the resurrection of Christ.

Easter means changed lives.

The message of Easter is a message of hope – a message of joy – and a message of change — especially when it is least expected.

One of those who had her life changed by the risen Christ was Mary Magdalene.

She must have felt alone – dejected – and that all hope was lost as she came to the tomb that first Easter morning.

Jesus — whom she had followed and in whom she had placed all her hopes and dreams — was dead — and it must have seemed that all her hopes and dreams of a better way of living — all her hopes and dreams of a new life – all her hopes and dreams of living differently and making a difference in the world had died with Him.

She had hoped that Jesus would make a real difference.

She had given her life to Jesus – she had committed herself to following Him – she had devoted herself to following His teaching – she had celebrated when Jesus had healed those who needed healing – and had rejoiced when Jesus had given new life to Lazarus.

She was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah – God’s chosen one – the one God had sent into the world to bring the world back to Him.

She had hoped that Jesus would truly make a difference in her life – and the world.

She was even ready to commit her life to following Jesus and help Him make a difference in the world!

But now – as she approached the tomb that first Easter morning – everything must have seemed different.

All her hopes and dreams must have seemed to have been buried with Jesus. She must have felt alone — and she must have felt like there was no way that she could get new hope for her life.

But then something happened.

She encountered the risen Christ – and in that encounter she realized that there was hope – that in Jesus God was truly changing her life and changing the world.

She had a new sense of hope.

She had a new sense of joy.

She suddenly had hope for a new and different way to live.

She suddenly had hope for a new and different world.

Just when she least expected it — God gave her new life — and God gave her new hope.

She now had hope for a different life – a life that was much more meaningful and joyous than she had ever dared to imagine before.

She now had hope for a different world – a world that was much more meaningful and joyous than she had ever dared imagine before.

As she ran back to the disciples with the news that she had seen the Lord she may have been confused — maybe incredulous — maybe even scared — but she also must have felt hope.

Hope that Christ was with her.

Hope that things could truly be different.

Hope that her life could truly be changed.

Hope that the world could truly be changed.

Can you imagine what a change there must have been in her voice – in her countenance – in her very self – as she found the disciples and announced to them;

“I have seen the Lord!”

What a message of joy and hope that must have been!

“I have seen the Lord!”

What a different message that must have been than the one she must have communicated earlier.

“I have seen the Lord!”

Her life was different!

Her life was new!

Her life had been changed!

She had seen the Lord!

Friends – Easter means that Christ has risen.

Easter means that everything has changed.

Easter means that everything can be seen from a different perspective – God’s renewing, life changing, world changing, perspective!

Easter means hope for changed lives!

Easter means hope for a changed Church!

Easter means hope for a changed community!

Easter means hope for a changed world!

As we gather around the Lord’s Table on this Easter morning – as we come into this beautiful sanctuary and as we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion – – there is hope – and the potential for change.

There is hope for our lives — there is hope for our families — there is hope for our community — there is hope for our church — there is hope for our world — because of the risen Christ.

There is the potential for change for our lives – there is the potential for change for our families – there is the potential for change for our church – there is the potential for change for our community – there is the potential for change for our world.

Because of the risen Christ — there is new life.

Because to the risen Christ — there is hope.

Because of the risen Christ – things can be different.

Because of the risen Christ – things can be changed.

Because of the risen Christ — there is hope — new life – a difference – and change — when we least expect it.

Because of the risen Christ – we can – like Mary — see the Lord.

Because of the risen Christ we can experience the Lord – and our lives – our Church – our community – and our world can be changed and made new – today and forever.

Because of the risen Christ we do not have to give up hope for our lives – our Church – our community – and our word.

Because to the risen Christ we do not have to settle for things as they are in our lives – our Church – our community – and our world – but we can dream of things being different – and work for the difference God wants to make in our lives – our Church – our community – and our world.

Can you see the Lord?

Can you see the Lord?

Can you see the hope — the new life — the love the risen Lord offers us?

Can you see the new life God gives us — especially when we least expect it?

Can you see the changed life – the changed Church – the changed community – the changed world – God is offering us?

Can you see the Lord?

Can you see the Lord?

If so — act like it!

Let the joy of the risen Lord – the joy of new life – the joy of a changed life – Church – community and world infect your life – let it infect how you worship — how you fellowship with each other — how you share God’s love with the world.

Can you see the Lord?

Can you let the risen Lord fill you with hope for a better life – a better Church – a better community – a better world?

If so – act like it!

Let the world know that you see the risen Christ.

Let the surprising love of God that renews us and gives us new life — especially when we least expect it – change you and give you such joy that the world will see it and wonder what has happened.

Let it make a noticeable difference in your life.

Let it make a noticeable change in how you live.

Share the difference Christ has made in your life with the Church and the world.

If you have seen the risen Christ – if the risen Christ has changed your life — you can not keep that a secret. You can not keep the new life and new hope God offers us through the risen Christ a secret.

You have to let it change how you live.

You have to let it change how you worship.

You have to let it change how you fellowship with others.

You have to let it change your actions as you reach out into the world with God’s love.

You have to tell the world the message Mary told the disciples:

“I have seen the Lord!”

“I have seen the Lord!”

Can you see the Lord?

Can you see the Lord?

Has your life been changed by an experience with the risen Christ?

Have you experienced the Lord’s love in a new way?

Have you let Christ make your life new?

Have you experienced God’s new life — especially in a way you never expected it before?

Can you see the Lord?

Can you see the Lord?

Easter has a clear message.

The message of Easter is that it does not matter how bad things seem to be in our lives – our Church – our community – and our world – God is at work changing things and making things new.

It does not matter how sinful or troubles our lives may be – the message of Ester is that God is at work changing things and making things new.

The current state of our Church does not matter — the message of Ester is that God is at work changing things and making things new – and we can be partners with God in that work.

The current sate of the economy and other things in our community that can depress us and get us down do not matter — the message of Ester is that God is at work changing things and making things new – and we can be partners with God in that work.

The current state of affairs in the world does not matter — the message of Ester is that God is at work changing things and making things new – and we can be partners with God in that work.

Because of the resurrection of Christ — our lives — our families — our community — our church – – our world — can be made new by God who makes all things new — even when — or maybe it‘s better to say especially when — we least expect it.

Let the message of Easter change your life.

Let the message of Easter change how you live.

Let the message of Easter change how you relate to all people.

Let the message of Easter truly change how you live.

Let the message of Easter give you hope for life – hope for a new Church – hope for a new community – hope for a new world – and the energy to work for God’s will that will bring that hope into a reality.

Just as the risen Christ changed Mary’s life and gave here hope and joy — the risen Christ can change you – and givng you hope – and giving you joy.

The risen Christ can change your life – can change this Church – the community – and the world!

By the life changing power Christ can give us – we can see there is new life and new hope – and proclaim – like Mary –

“I have seen the Lord!”

“I have seen the Lord!”

and the Lord can strengthen us to work for His new life – His changed Church – His changed community – and His changed world – in all we say and do.

Yea –

Easter means changed lives – a changed Church – a changed community – and a changed world.

See it.

Feel it.

Let the new life the risen Christ gives be a reality for you – and work to make it a reality for others. Amen.

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2 Comments »

  1. [...] You can read the sermon here.  « What Do You Think About Evangelism?     [...]

    Pingback by Rev Bill » Blog Archive » Sermon: John 20:1-18 — April 13, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  2. [...] 1. John 20:1-19 — Easter Means Changed Lives: Mary’s Story [...]

    Pingback by Rev Bill » Blog Archive » Easter Means Changed Lives — 2009 Easter Season Series — May 24, 2009 @ 8:02 pm


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