Sermon: We Believe!
We believe! This is our claim this morning. This is our song this morning. We believe. We hope. We love.
Today we believe that Love is stronger than death, and one word says it all:
P: Christ is risen! Congregation: Indeed, He is risen!
P: Hallelujah! Congregation: Indeed, He is risen! Hallelujah!
We believe. We hope. And we love.
This is our confession today. This is our Easter Song on this joyous morning with voices singing our beloved hymns, the daffodils telling us a story of hope, the trumpets playing to our ears of faith and the story, the Easter story, speaking to our hearts of faith and love.
We believe. We hope. And We love.
This Spring truly has prepared our senses for Easter in the most extraordinary way. It has been and still is a celebration of colors, supper blooming hills, extravaganza and fragrances. This Spring truly has been the wonder of nature, when life breaks forth again, when the barren hills are filled with life: green, yellow, orange and purple. We are in awe and we are blessed. It nourished our souls, our spirits and our faith. And we sing:
The hills are alive with the sound of music with songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears
My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray
I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music and I´ll sing once more
Earlier this Spring I was out walking with our dog as I often do. We share the same kind of desire to get out, to walk, to explore, to smell – even if I smell flowers, and Saxo smells other things that tells him stories – we have the same kind of desire to get out, to take deep breath and let our eyes wander to the hills, the canyons, the ocean or the mountains.
And one day, I realized that I had forgotten my iPhone and on top of that my Fitbit Watch. Oh, my, I thought, what’s really the point of walking in all this beauty, if I cannot take a photo, post a picture and share my emotions, - or if I can not even get my point and steps counted as I exercise.
Luckily the pulling of Saxo, the views of the hills, the smells of the flowers and the reluctance to be addicted to social media and counting steps, - made me realize that I don’t need to post to make it real, I don’t need to share it with my Facebook Friends for it really to happen or matter, and I don’t need to count my steps in order to enjoy the walk.
As I was walking and pondering, I thought about the women who came to the grave that first Easter Morning. They were perplexed and awed by what they saw and what they witnessed. That morning they found their faith, hope and love again. And they were running – running back to reality and their friends to share and proclaim what they saw, what they believed. They did not post it or share it on Social Media, but they did share their faith in the best possible way. With breaths lifted by faith, with eyes beaming of hope, with hearts pounding with love. They believed, hoped and loved.
Like ripples in a stream the faith, the hope and the love of that morning spread: to the disciples, to the believers, to the countries, to the world…. congregations were founded, churches and cathedrals were built because of that faith, hope and love of the first Easter morning. From Jerusalem, to Rome, from Rome to Paris where the beautiful Notre Dame was built - and where today the burned and bruised Notre Dame will be rebuilt and resurrected because of faith, hope and love.
From Israel, to Italy, to France, to Germany, to Denmark – and to US. The word spread. The story was told and believed. And here we are because once upon a time some women and men believed the unbelievable and unexplainable, and now we still believe the unbelievable and unexplainable because we do confess that life, love and light are stronger than death, despair and darkness.
We believe, we hope, and we love.
This is why we are here this morning. This is the song we sing this morning that the hills are alive with colors, music and faith. That life is more than darkness, grave and death – that where ever we go God is with us.
At the Entrance to the Church of all Nations in Jerusalem, next to the garden of Gethsemane, there is a sign warning every visitor entering the church: NO EXPLANATIONS INSIDE THE CHURCH.
This was intended to discourage talkative tourists and tour guides from disturbing the church’s prayerful ambience, but it has always struck me as a very good advice for pastors and congregants especially on Easter Sunday. Here in the church filled with people – like you and me- who spend most of our time out there, in the secular world, in the world of science, business, profit, politics and society, where the dead stay dead, the tombs stays closed, where we cry and mourn, - and the natural order is the order of our lives; and then on Easter morning we almost expect in here, in church, to find a defense or an explanation of the resurrection within what is plausible and acceptable for the modern mind.
But as the sign say NO EXPLANATION INSIDE THE CHURCH. Because in doing so, we try to manage the miracle and explain the mystery of faith. Because in doing so, we diminish the miracle and mystery of faith and life. In doing so we try to explain the miracle of the yellow hills, the miracle of a love that is stronger than death and the miracle of a faith that gives us hope even when we despair.
Today is not a Sunday of explanation, but a Sunday of proclamation. We are here today because we believe, hope and love.
Granted. We all have our doubts, we all have our questions, but we all have our faith too…. That is why we are here. Dressed in colors of faith and joy, eager to celebrate the mystery of Easter, eager to believe that love and light is always stronger than death or darkness. We do believe and do not need to be convinced but we are invited to be here today, among believers, seekers, and doubters to embrace the Easter story once again: and show how it is transforming our lives, hopes and loves.
Easter is not just a Sunday to remember what happened that glorious mysterious first Easter morning when the women came to the tomb, - it is even more a time to live and breathe. Easter is something we live and breathe. Easter is not just about what happened once, it is even more about what happens now. Among us. And what we become when we believe, hope and love. Easter is the song of today and tomorrow.
Easter is a song we sing today. Because we believe, we hope and we love. We are Easter people. And we shout and proclaim today; Christ is Risen!
We praise you, living God, with songs and prayers and listening hearts
and lives trying to obey your will.
You have created and are creating, bringing life and hope and love.
You come in Jesus, your Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new.
In a culture where the power death gets all the headlines your Holy Spirit summons us to be people
shaped by your power to work resurrection.
We are not sure we believe as fully as we think we should.
We are not sure we trust as deeply as we think you require.
But we bring who we are and what we have become into your presence,
longing to know your grace and your love.
Forgive what has gone wrong.
Repair in us what is broken. Reveal in us what is good and turn us toward it.
So may we follow wherever your Spirit may lead.
So may we love with the love of Jesus flowing through us.
So may we, body, mind and spirit,
be children of resurrection, children of hope, children of grace.
In Christ Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.