Look up and Go out into the World!

Easter Sunday Sermon“Look up and go out! "

Christ is risen! Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah! Welcome to this Easter Sunday Service!

Welcome and let us shout out again the ancient Easter Greeting: Christ is risen. Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!

You found your way here to the Danish Lutheran Church this Easter Morning as so many other Christians of so many other different denominations find and have found their way to their church--to celebrate and to share their faith with fellow believers. We come here to listen, to sing, to pray and most of all we come here to share our faith and hope with each other. So please turn to your left and wish the person: A happy Easter. Turn you your right: and wish the person a happy Easter. And then once again let us shout: Christ is risen. Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!

This is why we meet here this Easter morning. To be strengthen in our faith and to strengthen each other. Just as when the trees in spring open their leaves and buds to the sun. The rays of the sun send it power and nourishment into the tree and deep deep down to the roots. This is what happens today: when we confess our faith, pray, give praise and sing and open our hearts up up and away to the blue blue sky and the divine heavens. So we are not first of all here because we believe, but more because we need to be here, to be strengthen in our faith and our hope and our love… and receive the blessing of Gods life-giving shining rays of light.

I am so glad that you found your way this morning, as I am so glad that God’s message found you and me this morning. Because Easter is besides hope, faith and love also about finding your way…..

This reminded me of a story about the great Albert Einstein, the great physicist. Einstein was once traveling on a train, when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his other pockets.  It wasn't there.  He looked in his briefcase. but couldn’t find it.  Then he looked in the seat beside him.  Still couldn't find it.  The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great Einstein down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.  The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don't need a ticket.  I'm sure you bought one.' Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.”

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women came to the tomb…. They were going to the tomb with their grief and despair, but that was all they knew. They did not know where to go from there. They had lost their directions. They had lost their master and leader. They had lost their faith and hope. And their love…. Was to be found crumbled in their hearts as they tried to cope with this morning at the tomb. But then…. They found an empty tomb and standing perplexed in the empty space where their beloved master had been, suddenly two angels in dazzling white cloths stood beside them and reminded them of who they were, who Jesus were and where they were supposed to go. Suddenly they found their directions again… out of the emptiness of the grave, out and into the sunrise, out and running to share this news, this goods news, this Gospel, with their friends and the world. And every footstep and every breath of these women was shouting of joy:

Christ is Risen! Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!

That is where Easter began. That is where the Christian faith and hope began. That is where the Christian church, that we are a living part of, began. Jesus did not just leave, he left us with his presence, his hope and his directions. Up, up and away. Out, out and onwards. The directions of Easter are pointing up: the blue blue sky and the heavenly heavens, to the trees top reaching to the sun, to our love and hope souring to higher ground. But the directions of Easter are also pointing out: out from myself, out from a closed room, out from darkness, out from, out to the world and our fellow human beings. So the directions go: up and out. Not down and in. Our eyes should be reaching the sun, the heavens, the trees, the flowers, the soaring birds and the stars at night. Our eyes should look at the others right in front of us, right next to us.

Easter is a remarkable day. Easter is a beautiful day and a day of beauty and hope rather than a day that we can scientifically explain. It is about sunrise and hope, meeting a love one, finding hope where there was none, finding your way when you were lost. It is about new beginnings, and about something that reaches far beyond what we can grasp and understand. Easter is a mystery, but a mystery that gives us hope, faith and direction.

The Easter Good News has come to the world again at just the right time. At this time, the world desperately needs the message of hope and faith and love. We need the light and life of Easter morning. In the last months since the terrible terror attack in Paris November 2015, we have been witnessing an alarming wave of violence. Tragedies unfolding in Turkey, Syria Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria and even this week, which we call the holy week, a terrible terror attack in Brussels. It is difficult to comprehend the amount of death and destruction which has plagued our world and time. And all across the world today we see that a culture of death and fear is planted is us. The message of fear: to be afraid that we are losing our freedom. But along with that message: we are also losing our faith as we are afraid of the evil lurking beyond our borders, or even in our neighborhood. This message of fear is blocking our view of the blue blue heavens and the person just in front of us. It is exactly the same message of fear that Jesus experiences on his way to the cross, his Via Dolorosa: deception, betrayal, denial, humiliation.  But as the Easter message show us and shout to us this morning> we will not accept the message of fear and give into despair, hopelessness, violence.

We are with the women on their way with hope and faith. Hoping and believing in a life of freedom joy, dignity and peace. Perhaps over the years and in these troubled times we have allowed the worlds message of fear to influence us. Perhaps we have opened the door to jealousy, mistrust, violence and hatred. Perhaps we have forgotten hos Easter morning was a new day, a beautiful day, a new beginning? On this glorious morning we pray that Christians everywhere I the world will remember who we are: people of life, of joy and of freedom, People of mercy and forgiveness. People of love and hope. Above all: we should celebrate and remember – even and especially when the worlds violence contradicts and challenges our faith – we should celebrate and remember: that we were given a new hope, a new life, a new direction. Therefor in every church, in every community, in every nation, in every context, in very situation, let our testimony be as one: Christ is risen, indeed he is risen. Hallelujah. Life is stronger that death. Hope is stronger than fear.

And with the words from a beautiful love song by Creed: “With arms wide open”, - let us look at each other with hope and love, let us look to the heavens with hope and love and let us look beyond this life with hope and love:
I close my eyes, begin to pray. Then tears of joy stream down my face. With arms wide open under the sunlight Welcome to this place I'll show you everything
We stand in awe, under the sunlight. Welcome to this place.
I'll show you love. I'll show you everything. With arms wide open

So let us face today and tomorrow with our Easter Faith and with our arms wide open!

Christ is Risen. Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!