Easter Day: All Age Service
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 Easter Egg.
But the egg is empty.
Which is just like that first Easter. The egg represents the stone that was in front of Jesus’ tomb, and when the women went that day to anoint Jesus they got to the tomb, and found the stone was missing and the tomb had nothing is it at all.
What is that all about?
Well throughout the service we will find out
And you’ll find out why I am dressed the way I am dressed...
Being prepared part 1
You may have noticed something different about me today.
Yes it my clothes.
These aren’t the normal clothes I would wear on a Sunday morning; normally I would be wearing a smart suit.
But I am not wearing those cloths at all.
What am I wearing these for?
Yep, these are my holiday clothes.
Because you just don't go on holiday. You need to prepare.
In July I am going off on a cruise round the Mediterranean. What would I need to take with me.
Clothes for warm weather. Camera. Suntan lotion.
Great. That would make sure I was well prepared.
Let’s imagine that I was going on a mountaineering holiday. That I was going to climb the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest. What would I need then?
What would I need to take then?
Tanks of oxygen. Very warm clothes.
Big boots to grip in the snow. Ropes to keep me safe.
Lets imagine I was doing something different.
Let’s imagine that I was going to Russia to play in the world cup. What would I need then?
Football boots? A team strip. Some talent.
Great then I would be prepared.
And that is something that we all seem to understand. If we are going somewhere, we need to be prepared for it.
But what if it is something very different than we are used to.
So we are going to have a break and a wee song. But during the song I want you to think of what you would need if you were going to the world of Teddy Bear.
How would you prepare for that?
Being Prepared Part 2
So I left you with a bit of a teaser,
What would you need if you were going to go and live in a world of Teddy Bear? A world in habited by Teddy Bears?
This is the problem. No one has been there before so we don’t know what we would need.
For instance what if the world is full of giant ferocious evil teddy bears?
Maybe a good thing to take along would be a rocket launcher.
But what if it is filled with teddy bears just like Winnie the Pooh?
All you would need was a big jar of honey.
But what if it is filled with Teddy Bears that are really friendly but only speak Polish, then a dictionary of Polish words would be really useful.
When we are invited to go somewhere that we have never been to before it can be really hard to prepare properly for it.
And if we get it wrong then we are in big trouble. If we go to the world of Teddy Bear with a polish dictionary and a jar of honey and it is full for great big ferocious giant human eating Teddy Bears then we would be in really big trouble.
Preparing right is the smart thing to do, but the really hard thing to do.
So here is a real problem?
This is a God sized problem.
How do you prepare for heaven?
None of us has been there; we don’t know what it is like.
And that’s the trouble with heaven. If we don't know what it is like, how can we prepare for it?
Imagine a place where there is no hunger, no greed, where people never fight, never argue, never fall out, never hit each other, never get ill, never die.
How do you prepare for a world where everyone loves, everyone trusts, everyone has hope?
No one is sad, no one is suspicious, no one is afraid?
How do you prepare for that?
That was God’s problem.
God invited everyone to heaven, he still does, but how do we prepare for that when we can never really imagine what it is like?
And God’s answer was to send Jesus.
Being Prepared Part 3
So God knew that we could never work out how to prepare for heaven.
So he sent his son Jesus.
And he showed what heaven was like in very real ways.
For instance Jesus showed what it was like not to be hungry.
There was this one time when people were starving. They were worried and a bit angry because they didn't have enough to eat, and Jesus told them that that wasn't the way heaven was like. They didn't need to be worried or angry.
And he said that heaven was different, that people didn’t need to worry or be angry about not eating. So they asked him what that was like, and Jesus showed them, he fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. No one was hungry, no one as angry, everyone was content.
Jesus showed what it was like not to be sad.
There was the time people were really sad because their brother Lazarus had died. And they were really sad.
And Jesus told them that was not what heaven was like. That heaven was different, that people could be happy. So they asked him what that was like, and Jesus showed them, he made Lazarus come alive again. No one in Lazarus’ family were sad, they were really, really happy.
Jesus showed what it was like not to be afraid.
There was this time when the disciples of Jesus were really afraid because they were in a storm and the waves were higher than this church and the lightening was all around them making them very scared.
And Jesus told them that was not what heaven was like, that heaven was different, and that people could feel strong and courageous and know that God would look after them. So the disciples asked Jesus what that was like, and Jesus showed them, he stood up and calmed the storm. And none of the disciples felt afraid, they felt at peace, they felt safe.
And that is what Jesus still wants to do today.
That’s why people get so excited about Easter.
You see we can still feel a bit afraid, a bit scared, not at peace, not happy.
And Jesus tells us that heaven isn't like that.
And then, if we want, Jesus shows us on this earth what heaven is like.
He puts people in our lives to help us feel that love, that peace, that joy of heaven.
And not only that, Jesus gives us the strength to be able to show those bits of heaven to others, that we can help others in practical ways, so that they don't need to feel scared, or afraid, or lonely, or sad.
One simple way we do that is with our offering. Some of this offering goes to help people in nursing homes, goes to help people that have addiction problems, goes to help people that are struggling on their own at home. Some of the offering goes to keep this church open so that we can help children and adults and old and young. Those that come here to find fellowship in the organisations, those that leave here to visit others that can’t leave their house so they bring God’s hope to them where they are.
So let us give our offering this day.