Easter Day is so like an Easter Egg.
To start off with you have the box and the packaging.
What you want to get to, the Easter Egg is packaged with all this stuff that is so difficult to get through. Sometimes it takes ages to work out how to get into the egg.
A bit like Easter.
To get to Easter we need to go through Palm Sunday when everyone is cheering and shouting and saying how much they what Jesus to be there king.
Then before we know it
the religious leaders are planning to assassinate him,
his own disciples are betraying him,
Jesus has been arrested and put on trial and been killed on a cross.
How are we supposed to understand all that and what it means?
Then when we finally get to what we want, the Ester Egg, representing the stone at the entrance of the tomb that is roiled away.
But that isn’t the way it is meant to be either.
For we know what is in every egg. A yoke and the white of the egg. But in an Easter Egg there is...nothing.
I always feel a bit conned by Easter Eggs. You pay a fortune for them and they are empty inside.
But then that first Easter was like that too.
The one certainty that the followers of Jesus had, was that he was dead.
They may not have liked it, but at least they knew what to do. They could go to the tomb and make sure that his body was looked after, that perfumes were put on the body and decent clothes. They may not have been able to look after Jesus when he was alive, but at least they could look after his body.
And then they go and stone is rolled away...and the tomb is empty. It isn't meant to be empty, it is meant to have a body in it.
But it doesn't.
And the women don't know what to do.
Maybe someone has stolen the body
Should they cry with sorrow.
Should they shout with anger.
Everything is not as it is meant to be.
The way we see ourselves
The problem we have is the way we see ourselves.
We see ourselves as broken.
And that is fair enough.
There is a story in the Bible which kind of explains this.
There was a man and woman, we will call them Adam and Eve.
They had a perfect life because God had given them a perfect life.
They lived in God’s garden.
They didn't need to worry about food, because all the trees had a wide variety of fruit that grew all the year long.
They didn't need to worry about water because there were streams that flowed through the garden that had the coolest, freshest water.
They didn't need to worry about wild animals eating them when they were asleep, or attacking them when they were awake, because God had made sure none of them was in that garden.
Life was perfect.
And when they were unsure of things they could just talk to God himself, because he would come down and talk with them.
There was only one rule.
There was one tree that they weren't allowed to eat any fruit from.
God had said it was a trust thing.
They just needed to trust that God knew what was best for them and they weren’t allowed any fruit from that tree.
As long as they trusted God everything would be fine.
But the day they didn't trust God, that would be really bad for them.
Now if I had been in that garden I would have built a fence round that tree, maybe even a wall round that tree to make sure I was never near that tree.
But Eve just spent her days looking at the tree, wondering why that tree was so special.
It didn’t look all that special.
What made it worse was one day this snake was in the tree, wiggling round the branches. She was sure she saw the snake eat one of the fruit.
That really annoyed Eve, how come the snake could eat the fruit and she couldn't?
If it was safe enough for a snake to eat, it was safe enough for her.
So she had a bite, just one bite.
And nothing changed, well nothing in the outside.
Inside Eve felt really strange, guilty.
She wished she hadn’t had the fruit but now it was too late.
She was in trouble.
But she didn't want to be in trouble alone.
So she convinced Adam to have a bite of the fruit as well.
Again outside nothing changed, but inside Adam felt angry at Eve for tricking him. Felt God would be angry at him. Felt everything was falling apart.
So when God appeared for a chat they both hid. Scared of what God would do.
God himself knew instantly that something was wrong, why did they need to hide, why did they need to feel guilty?
Because the garden was perfect, they couldn't have broken people in it, they would just make a mess of things, and now they couldn't be trusted in it anyway.
So Adam and Eve had to go.
I think that’s how we look at ourselves.
We wish things could be perfect, but like Adam and Eve, we know that the one thing that stops our lives being perfect, is us...we do stupid things to ruin it.
Let’s start off by maybe saying sorry for the things we know we have done wrong...
We know there are times when we get things wrong. We know there are times when we do the wrong thing. Help us to have a heart that thinks before it acts.
A heart that thinks of others before it thinks of itself.
This we ask in Jesus name.
How God sees us
We know the way that we see ourselves and others, for we know that others are just like us.
But what about how God sees us.
I think God sees us exactly as we are, but also how we could be.
Have any of you heard of Japanese art called Kintsugi?
The story goes that way back (15th Century) a Japanese shogun (which is a Japanese ruler) called Ashikaga Yoshimasa had a tea bowl that he was very fond of...but it got damaged.
So what do you do with a damaged tea bowl, you fling it out.
Only he didn’t want to fling it out because it was his favourite tea bowl.
So he sent it to China for repairs.
When the tea bowl returned it was repaired with ugly metal staples.
So he decided that he would fix it himself.
He got his craftsmen to glue it together, but instead of them trying to hide the damage, they would use the damage to make it look unusual. So they came up with the idea of gluing the parts together, but putting gold in the glue.
It became such a popular form of repair that it even made the bowl more valuable.
I think that is the way that God looks at us,
He knew that we were damaged, broken.
But instead of just flinging us out, he sought to fix us.
And through Jesus he did that, the glue that he used to put us back together was the glue of love, and compassion, hope and tolerance.
Some would say that when God fixes us we are better than we were before, because now people can see our love and compassion, they can see our hope and tolerance. That is why today is so special. Because everything is reversed. Fear becomes hope, hurt becomes healing. Even damage becomes strength.
that is why we celebrate this day.
There are times in our life when we think our life is complicated and difficult.
But in the end it comes down to something simple.
You love us enough to accept us as we are.
You love us too much to keep us as we are.
And your love is powerful enough to change us.
We give thanks, that in these times, your power and strength are there for us. Amen