Rev Dave’s Easter Message 2022
I wonder if there are things that still surprise you? One of the joys of working with children is their utter delight at what as adults we may think rather mundane or even worse, take for granted. I remember when I was back in Sheffield being at a toddler group and they were in the church garden. One young toddler, no more than 3 perhaps, was delighted to keep pointing at the daffodils and shouting ‘DAISY!’ I was with his Mum and obviously a little embarrassed explained that they had been looking at a book at home and it had a picture of a flower and underneath was written the word ‘daisy’. The child had learnt the word that week and so to him every flower was a daisy. Mum bent down and gently told him that it wasn’t a daisy, but a daffodil. Unperturbed, he pointed again and at the same volume shouted ‘DAFFOOODDDILLL!’
He didn’t care what flower it was, he was just delighted to be in creation and couldn’t give two hoots about being right, he was just surprised and delighted with the world around him. Perhaps that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said that all who come to God should come as a child does, full of surprise and delight. In the Easter story we hear some of the most surprising words:
“He is not here.”
Two thousand years or so ago, some people went to a graveyard in Jerusalem. They were going to one of the tombs, just one among countless other similar tombs there: carved out of rock like little caves. According to their culture and tradition, they were going to anoint the body of their friend who had died and had been buried there a couple of days previously. But as they approached the place, they saw that the huge stone that had been put across the mouth of the tomb had been moved, by persons unknown. And, even more surprising, they were met by someone who said this odd thing: “Why are you looking for your friend? He is not here.”
He is not here? But he must be here. We saw him laid here with our own eyes two days ago, surely? And so, the most baffling, extraordinary, and sensational story of all time began in earnest. The empty tomb. A tomb that looks like someone’s mouth is open in a great capital O of surprise.
It is surprising, the Easter story, the arrest, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian Church was born out of a surprise and continues, to some surprisingly, to this very day. It will continue surprising everyone long after you and I have gone. If, after looking at the tomb, you look at the church itself, you will see the doors of the building are like another mouth open in surprise. Inside, on Easter day, however, you will not find it empty. You will find it full of joy and of colour and of hope and of love. That is perhaps the most surprising thing about Easter. From the empty tomb comes a full building. Join us, if you can. You will be pleasantly surprised. Not least because nowadays, we no longer say ‘he is not here’. We are able to shout with complete confidence:
“HE IS HERE; HIS SPIRIT IS WITH US. ALLELUIA!”
Never stop being surprised and delighted in what God can do! May God bless you and those you love this Easter and always.