Sermon Easter 2020

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Easter 2020     Message from Tim

I have a hopeless memory. My children are always saying things like, ‘Surely you remember my friend, Anna. She spoke at the service you attended last time you visited us. She’s very short, dark hair and glasses. Smiley face’. ‘No’, I reply, searching every corner of my cobwebbed memory. We have a board game called ‘Scene it’, It’s a variation on Ludo, as they all are, and you move around the board answering questions on films, and sometimes you get a dvd clip to watch. Questions come up then like ‘How many bikes were leaning against the shop front ?’  ‘What colour was the factory owner’s jacket ?’ I’m always last.

If you’re in court, it is vital to remember accurately, so that members of the jury, who didn’t see what you saw and heard, can establish the truth of what happened. The Bible readings for today are about witnesses to events. Peter in Acts 10.34-43 is telling his audience that he saw and heard everything Jesus did and said when he was alive and then saw and heard everything he did and said after he was seen alive again. The women, or whoever gave the women’s story to Matthew in Matthew 21.1-10, focus on what they were doing that Easter morning. They came to the tomb with perfume to make Jesus’ dead body smell nice, but there was an earthquake, the guards on the tomb fainted and they saw a figure in shining white sitting on the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. He said ‘Jesus is not in here, he is risen’. The ladies never thought to look inside and check, they took the words at face value. They went to the disciples and presumably could have shown the perfumes and spices, which they didn’t need and hadn’t used. Now what might they have fetched on ebay ?

So what did all this amount to ? Proof that there is life after death ? Proof that Jesus had risen ? No, more than that. Peter said that Jesus’ death had brought ‘peace with God’ to all and sundry. Jesus appears to the disciples in Matthew and says pointedly ‘Peace be with you’. In John’s gospel he says it twice ! Easter is more than new life, more than a hope in heaven, it is Jesus’ offer of peace with God. Before, we were not God’s friends and through Jesus now we can be, if we turn to him and thank him for what he did for us on the cross.

But there is one last thing. The figure on the tomb, an angel we are told, tells the women to tell the disciples Jesus is going ahead of them to Galilee, repeating something he had said to them two chapters earlier. Galilee was in the north of the country, the place where Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus when they returned from Egypt. It was unfancied, unfashionable, and full of people seen as outsiders by the religious establishment, a place that had been repopulated by foreigners from earlier conquest. Jesus set up base in Capernaum, a town built by the hated Romans, even more foreign. Jesus was showing his disciples that he was making a new beginning where he had been before. The good news of ‘Peace with God’ was to be shared with those who didn’t know God or whom others rejected.

Easter isn’t just for the Church, it is, or He is, for everyone !

 

Sermons from Easter 2020 onwards

Sermons from Easter 2020 onwards are available in full in the weekly newsletters on the relevant page and in the weekly videos on the ‘videos’ page under the ‘Media’ menu. !

AMD Sermon Notes 2015/6 by Tim Hawkins

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The Choice between Life and Death Deuteronomy 30.15-19 by Rev Samuel Marsden

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WW1 Commemoration by Rev Ian Lowell at Gulval Aug 3rd 2014

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