Hi folks.  Here are messages of the past Holy Days leading up to and including Easter.
Please note that Easter Sunday was a children's sermon and Friday's was a sort of poem.
Have a blessed Day of Resurrection! 

EASTER SUNDAY CHILDREN"S MESSAGE
Last week we talked about what happened to Jesus after Palm Sunday.
The people who got mad at him had him arrested and then crucified (reference crucifix)
But we said that wasn’t going to be the end of the story; that it would turn out OK, right?
(There’s a sign people use to show things are OK, with your fingers, can you do that. “OK”
So we can say I know that story turned out OK because God raised him from the dead.
He came back to life in what we call the resurrection, which we celebrate today on Easter!

This resurrection changes everything!
It changes how we see the world, how we think about ourselves and how we live our lives.
Because, when we were baptized into Jesus, we come to share in all that he has.
So this resurrection is not just for Jesus, but also for us!
So this changes everything because we can say now I know that things will always be OK.

Here’s what I mean -
You know what is one of the biggest problem we have in life?   WORRY!
We worry about things and whether we are going to be OK.
‘Will I do OK in school?’  
‘Will that girl/boy think I’m OK?’ 
‘Will I do OK in my job?’  
‘Will my test at the doctor go OK?’   
‘Will I be OK when I retire?’
And the biggest question/worry is when we wonder ‘Will I (or one I love) be OK when we die?’

See, we live in between where we are at the time…and wondering what will be.
And we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us for sure how things will turn out.
Before the resurrection of Jesus, people just were not sure about anything.
But this resurrection of Jesus changes all of that….and here’s how -

Because of the resurrection, now we can say “I know” that God raised Jesus back to life….
and “I know” that Jesus said God would do the same for us and take care of us in all things,… and “I know” from Jesus that God loves us and can do amazing things,..
so that faith tells us that we can say for sure that “I know” in all things,…we will be OK.

So we can say; even if we don’t get an ‘A+’ on that test,….”I knowI will be OK doing my best.
Even if we don’t do great in a job,…”I knowI will be OK at some job.
Even if my results at the doctor’s comes out bad,….”I knowI will be OK in the long run.
Even when we, or someone we love, dies,…..we can say “I knowwe’ll be OK in heaven.
Because this resurrection of Jesus tells us that God will make everything turn out OK for us.
Just like He did for Jesus and that’s why the resurrection changes everything for us!

I also want you to do another sign to remind yourself that God will always make things be OK
Put your finger near and point to your eye and say “eye”.
Then put your finger on your nose and say “nose”.
And then do all all three signs together in order like this and saying “I ,… nose” … it will be “OK”.
Let’s all do that together - I,…knows,…it’ll be OK

Can I tell you who worries more than anyone?  Grown ups. 
Let’s teach the grown ups how to build up their faith - turn around and show them.
Show them the three signs that says ….“I….knows,….it’ll be OK
Now they can be sure that, whatever their worries or problems, that they can tell themselves,…
that because of the resurrection of Jesus, that they’ll be OK too,
Amen

 

GOOD FRIDAY TENEBRAE POEM

Look and you’ll see that I’ve always been devoted and dedicated to you.
Never say ‘always’,….never brag about self or a mis-truth,….never, never.

Man,…I do not know what you speak of!   Look and see that I have no inequities!
ahhh…but there was that lie that shielded you;…or was that more than once?

Go look and see…you will find no transgression within my heart.
That money you gained which was not really yours;…did you forget about that?

Look,..my infirmities are my own mistakes;,….I never intentionally hurt anyone.
I was there with the friend of yours who discovered how you betrayed him.

Do not look and see me as one with transgressors,…for I am not of their kind!
I can, and do, love those who turn from or shun me;.…you have been with them.

My infirmities look as mere spots on an otherwise blemish-free ledger.
Your infirmities were like drops of blood in the snow…that is white no more.

If I strayed from you, you’ll see it was only for a bit and a long time ago!
You leave my side every day,…I call you back,…sometimes you answer. 

Will you look at and judge me harshly?   Where can I find mercy?
Look up and see,…he is lifted up for you,…to carry away your disease,…
Look up and see,…he is wounded for your transgressions,…. 
Look up and see,…he bears your inequities…
Look up and see,…he has poured himself out for you,….
When justice comes to your home,…you’ll invite mercy is a preferred guest.
Look up to him and see;…he is that mercy for you.

 

MAUNDY THURSDAY SERMON

Tonight,…we hear Jesus teaching his disciples about ‘love’.
About Christian love, which is different from other kinds of ‘love’.
Christian love is not the Romeo and Juliet idea of romantic love where we get stars in our eyes and “fall into” it.
Its not the love of beauty that permeates our media and the airwaves.
Not a platonic love that a teammate has for fellow basketball players.
The ‘love of Christ’ may integrate with those other kinds of love.
But the love that Jesus advocates goes deeper and is more involved.
Christian love requires a greater commitment than those others.
Because what Christian love often looks like is not clean and comfortable,…. but a down and dirty sort of thing.

The friend who says they love someone but won’t visit them in the nursing home or hospital because ‘I don’t like going in those places’,..does not exhibit Christian love.
The pastor or priest who says they love their church,…but will not ‘lower themselves’ to empty trash or clean up the bathroom,..fails to practice Christian love.
The person who says they love their partner,…but won’t be understanding or forgiving of their worst behavior,…has not committed to Christian love.
The father who says he loves his son,….and yet will not accept him because he can’t stomach that the son is gay,….is not living out Christian love.
A prophet or rabbi who says he loves his disciples and followers,….but will not wash their dirty feet,…does not teach the things of God.

If we fail to do what it takes to show ‘Christian love’ because doing so,
will offend us,… 
or makes us feel uncomfortable or unpleasant,… 
or doesn’t jive with how we’d like others to see us,…
then we are not being Christ in the world.
To love as Jesus taught,….means to engage in and commit to things which often are not comfortable or clean.
To do things which may offend our sensibilities,…lower our status,…or even hinder our hygiene,…is to practice Christian love.
To show the love of Christ in what we say and do, often means to be part of something unpleasant or to even to suffer.
It is often,…a down and dirty business.

When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet,….he did just that.
He lowered his status, from Son of God and their teacher,… to be a servant of those stinky, nobody, fisherman.
He ignored any discomfort he may have had, either physically or psychologically, and got down and dirty to serve them.
He handled,…without latex gloves,…their filthy feet.
To show them the kindness and love that he had in his heart.

Its no good if we only have a ‘feeling’ of love inside and yet refuse to show it outwardly because of some issue we have.
Whether it be self-pride,…or aversion to unpleasant things,….that which prevents from showing love… has no excuse or defense.
Just like the only way to care for the flowers in your garden,…
to fix your car or something around the home,…. 
or to save or make good the meal that you’ve burned,….
the only way to take care of it is to roll up your sleeves and get your hands into it,…even if that means getting your hands dirty.

Doing this will not surprise most people,…..it will shock them!
To show the kind of love that Jesus advocates,… will be at odds with most of what you will hear from the world around you.
The self-centeredness that rules the commercial and political world,… will think this a nutty idea.
When we put ourselves out we’re often told to ask ‘what’s in it for me?
Or people sometimes do something only with the disclaimer “it was no skin off my nose”.
But Christian love isn’t about being a good deal for the one doing it,… and it actually can demand some ‘skin off our noses’,….or worse.
Jesus got down and showed this kind of love when he washed his disciples’ feet,…
but the next day on the cross he also showed love that cost him a lot more than some skin off his nose.

One of the greatest examples of Christian love was Mother Theresa’s work in one of the darkest, dirtiest, most despicable places on earth.
She didn’t just run a nice clean social service program,…but she got down there with the diseased, the discarded, and the dying.
But you can see acts of Christian love all around the world today and surprisingly,…they are not always done just by Christians.
Yet we don’t have to go to a dirty place like Calcutta.
There are always opportunities to do the same kinds of things,…with friends or family and people we may know at all.
And while we may not see it at the time or be looking for it,… getting our hands or feelings soiled with acts of love does yield good things.
Because not only does engaging in lowly things for the sake of others lift them from out of their depths
But getting down and dirty with acts of love that might not pleas us,… we will arise from that with a feeling that we have pleased God.

Let’s not forget that from down in the dirt all life originated from God;… human beings, but also gifts like wheat fields and vineyards.
Gifts which Jesus used to memorialize and create into sacramental character something special that showed his love for us.
An act of love that lifts us up from our soiled selves to a place now and forever, where we are good with God.
When we celebrate Holy Communion, we are reminded of how when Jesus got his most down and his dirtiest,….as he was lifted up,…
that his love brought forth the glory of new life for us.
Amen