He’s Alive! … It’s true! He’s Alive!!
… It’s true! Happy Easter. What a joy it is to see
the Church so packed. To those who are in town visiting family
and friends – welcome to our Church. To those who only occasionally
come to worship – it is wonderful that you are here. To
those who have made the Lenten journey together: “This is
the day that the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad!”
He’s Alive. It’s true!
Easter – what an amazing day. More so than any other day
of the year, all around the world, Christians like ourselves,
pack into churches to rejoice in this day, this day that the Lord
has made, this day in which our Savior Jesus the Christ rose from
the dead. Today more people walk through those doors into this
Church than even on Christmas Eve. And as festive as Christmas
Eve is, today you are even better dressed!
Why are we here? When you leave this Church at Christmas, you
are greeted by a neighborhood decked out in holiday cheer. You
return to beautifully decorated homes, piles of presents, and
countless parties that go on for a week. That won’t happen
I am sure that most of us on this Easter Sunday will gather for
a good meal and visit with loved ones. But there will be no pile
of presents and life’s routine will return to normal by
tomorrow. So why is this the morning when the churches are packed
and the Malls are empty?
I believe it is because this is the feast that truly speaks to
us. This is the feast that meets us right where we live. This
is the feast that addresses our deepest fears and our greatest
hopes. Today we celebrate that, in Christ Jesus, we are saved!
We celebrated that God’s great love for us, in the person
of Jesus, has conquered sin, sickness, and death. Now that’s
worth rejoicing over. Those who claim that our human race has
no need to be saved must, instead, believe that sin, sickness,
and death have the final say. … It can be hard to admit
to ourselves and to others that we need to be saved. But that’s
why we are here. That’s why we celebrate Easter. We join
with our fellow sinners, to remind ourselves and each other what
we believe. And what is it that we believe? We believe that, He’s
Alive. … It’s true.
Today’s first Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.
That book of the Bible, the fifth book of the New Testament, tells
us the story of the first believers. They were not any different
from us. They came in all shapes and sizes and from every walk
of life. They had great faith and great troubles. They had hopes
and dreams. And like us, they knew that they needed to be saved
from sin and death. They embraced the message of the Savior, took
up their crosses and followed him confident that some day they
too would be raised from the dead.
Our Gospel recounts how the disciples first came to understand
that Jesus had conquered death. Mary Magdala’s great love
for Jesus did not end with his death. She has come to the grave
only to find it empty. In her heart she knows what has happened.
She realizes that He’s Alive! She needs others to confirm
what her heart has already told her. She runs to the Apostles
to tell them of the empty grave. Peter and John run to the grave.
Peter apparently runs like I do, so John arrives at the grave
before him. Out of respect for Peter, John waits. They go into
the empty tomb. Immediately John understands and believes that,
Parents and grandparents, believing friends, and any one here
whom other look to for advice and guidance please note the dynamic
between Mary Magdala, John, and Peter. Mary and John have come
to believe but they need Peter’s affirmation. They need
to know that Peter is a believer too. They need to know that Peter
realizes that Jesus has saved them. So when your children ask,
“Why is the Church so full?” You need to answer with
conviction, “Because it is Easter!” And when they
ask why everyone is dressed so well, you need to answer, “Because
it is Easter!” And when they ask, “Why is even Daddy
wearing a tie with his jeans?” Answer, “Because it
is Easter!” And when they ask why everyone seems so joyful,
answer “Because it is Easter!” And when they ask why
we celebrate Easter, answer “Because, He’s Alive!
… It’s true!” Happy Easter.