April 4, 2021 – Faith, Hope, and Love

Posted on April 6, 2021

Home Sermon April 4, 2021 – Faith, Hope, and Love

April 4, 2021 – Faith, Hope, and Love

Last Easter I had a bicycle accident.

And I broke my right arm.

I can remember how much pain I was in while giving my Easter sermon.

Today I am grateful to be pain free in this arm.

It still doesn’t feel quite the way it used to feel before I broke it.

But at the same time, I am amazed at how good this arm feels one year later.

The body’s ability to heal is a remarkable thing.

The same with our mind and our soul.

We heal.

Whether it be from an accident, an illness, or if it is from some kind of loss such as the loss of a loved one -the body, the mind, and the soul have a remarkable way of finding healing.

In fact, often we find that we become stronger as we heal.

The bone that is broken becomes stronger at the place where it was broken.

Our immune systems actually get stronger after an illness.

We become stronger and wiser through the pain of struggle and loss.

As a child I can recall my father teaching me that whenever we experience some kind of personal loss or some kind of suffering in life the experience of the pain helps us to feel more compassion towards those who may suffer in a similar way.

We become stronger in our ability to have compassion.

To have compassion means to suffer with another person.

That is the definition of compassion.

In life we will find that there is always movement.

We are either growing in the ways of Jesus and being transformed by his love or we are not.

We are either becoming stronger in our faith, in our hope in him, and in our love for Jesus or we are not.

There is either a dying and a rising that is happening within us or there is not.

This dying and rising journey that we are taking in life is what Lent, Holy Week, and Easter point to.

Lent and Holy Week point to the personal transformation that is possible when the Lord is working in our hearts.

Easter points to the rebirth and new life that is possible when the Lord is working in our hearts.

The new world to come and this world that we live in now are both intended to be lived in through the cross and through the resurrection.

This present world, with its fallenness and sin and sorrow will give way to God’s new thing that God is doing.

In the resurrection of Jesus, we see that God is a God of life and that God is always about the work of doing something new and in helping us to grow stronger in faith, in hope, and in love.

The resurrection of Jesus was a defining life-giving act that God did to show us that God is about life and not death.

God is life.  God is always life.  God is the source of all life.

This is what Jesus meant when he said in the Gospel of John chapter eleven,

“I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

In Christ we will not die.

Yes, our earthly bodies die but at the same time they don’t.

For in the resurrection, we are given a permanent home -even a seat with Christ in heaven.

There is a great mystery here that we accept with faith.

Something of what we are now – our body, our mind, our soul which will be resurrected in the life to come.

Death is real but Christ has defeated it by his death and resurrection.

What will our new body and our new life be like in the world to come -that is still a great mystery to us.

We do not have that knowledge.

But what we do know is that God will be with us in the life to come and that God’s love, God’s greatest gift to us will be fully given to us.

Do we have the faith to believe this?

Or is our fear to great to believe this good news?

The women at the tomb were too afraid to tells others what they had seen and heard at the tomb.

The women represent all of us -you, me, everyone.

All of us struggle through life to believe and to have hope and to not get caught in trap of despair and doubt.

We can identify with the women this morning.

This is why the Gospel reading from Mark resonates with us so well.

We know what it is like to be afraid.

In life we know what it feels like to have fear.

In the Bible fear is a common human response to God and to God’s spiritual manifestations.

But the women at the tomb would not always feel fear.

Fear would give way to joy and hope and new life.

For Jesus’ followers they would come to understand and to see that Jesus really did rise from the grave.

They would come to see that Jesus brings both future resurrection and eternal life into the present age.

What does this mean?

This means that new life, new hope, and a chance at a new beginning in life is possible even now.

There can be a great spiritual awakening that takes place within us even now.

We can become stronger in our faith, in our hope, and in our love.

Dying and rising doesn’t just happen at the hour of our death.

We do believe this is true -that in death we will rise again.

But dying and rising is also the spiritual movement that happens throughout our lives.

Now this is not something that we can understand through logic alone.

Rather this is lived faith.

Faith lives with the questions, the doubts, and the struggles of life.

But faith does so always with the hope that resurrection is for us even now.

Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Jesus opened the door to new life on that Easter morning.

He shattered death’s door.

Now in him we grow stronger in faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

In him pain, suffering, and doubt are transformed through the resurrection.

And we are healed.

Amen.

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