Monday, April 2, 2007

Easter and Evangelism Luke 24:1-12 Easter 1C

We have the best story in the world to tell. It's a story about life, and love, and God's triumph over sin, death, and the devil. It's a great story that has been handed down to us as gift. And my hope is that we don't hoard this gift; rather my hope is that we find new and unexpected ways to share this gift with the people around us.

The story of Jesus dying and rising has been told through twenty centuries. For me, and I hope for each of you who read this, this story is about hope and about what God can do. But for a third of the people who live around us in 21st Century America the Good News of Easter isn't a source of hope; because they don't know the story. (If you want to debate these numbers please read George Barna's work.) We live in a nation that is ready for open dialog about the story of God coming to earth. The hard part for the institutional church is learning trust the people of God to tell the story rather than in our institutions.

We who serve in churches have to assume a position of humility in discussions of faith. Bishop and priest and pastor aren't respected professions these days. So we have to rely on a different kind of authority when we speak. Its a grave mistake to try and claim some old authority of power that's been removed by history, sin, and scandal. Humility is tough to swallow; especially if 2 generations ago people thought you were infallible. That's the real rub that's challenging the church. We need to have ideas and be able to articulate them in a language that works beyond pulpits or pastoral letters to believers. We have to figure out how to speak in the market place. And that's where the people who hear an Easter sermon come in. They are the ones who God has placed in all kinds of different vocations and gifted with unique abilities and relationships. They are the ones who can best tell the story.

The challenge as preachers on Easter is not just to tell the story, that's easy on Easter, and besides almost everybody in worship on Easter wants to hear it. Our mission is to help our people find their own voices so that they can tell the story too.

Jesus was killed and his body was placed in a tomb. A few women who cared very deeply for him planned to anoint his body with oil and spices. What they found that morning frightened them.

The details of how it happened are unclear (unless you want to speculate on Deutero-Canonical gospel accounts including the Gospel of Peter.) But what is clear is that the one who was dead was raised and that life will never be the same for him or those who believe that he is Lord.

There's a story to tell. There's a world ready to hear some Good News. Jesus was dead and he is risen. And all who believe will have life after death in him. This is the best story.

1 comment:

Pastor Eric said...

We DO have the best story. Thanks for the post.