Thursday, August 30, 2018

We Do This


One thing that people share regardless of political affiliation, religion, or age is the belief that world is not as it should be, or could be.
We all have some sense that things are not going well.
There is too much violence, hatred, vitriol, and poverty.
I hear it a lot from people in my congregation regardless of who they are.
They will say, " I can't believe that this thing is happening, or that things is going on in the world."

I want to tell you this morning that this is nothing new.
My mother reminds me all the time that we have always had a world not as it should be.
We might have thought that things used to be better, but they were never as good as we remember.
Our Gospel for this morning takes place as the disciples are returning from being sent out by Jesus into the world.
Right after that we are told the story of how Herod had John the Baptist killed by cutting off his head.
That is the world that we are asked to go out into.
A world where people have their heads cut off, merely for speaking the truth.
All of this begs the question what are we to do about such a world?
There are so many problems that seem so overwhelming.
They seem to close in on us all the time.
Jesus saw this need all the time in his ministry, and now the disciples see it too.
What are we to do?

Twenty years ago this summer I had the greatest job (besides being a pastor).
I was the CIT trainer here at Camp Calumet.
A couple of summers after that I was here visiting Calumet and I saw one of my CITs who was working on puddle that summer.
I asked her, "What are you doing to make the world a better place?"
She didn't miss a beat and replied, "This."
At first I was taken a back, I didn't think that was good enough.
She should be doing more.
Feeding the hungry, protesting war, teaching underprivileged kids.
but then I realized that it was the perfect answer.
This is what we do.
In this world that is never what it should be we should be doing exactly what we are doing this morning.
Gathering together with Jesus, praying, singing, and hearing that God loves us.
Because tomorrow we all have to get back into the world.
We will have to confront again the imperfections of ourselves and the world around us.

This is what the disciples did after they got done being sent out by Jesus.
They gathered again with Jesus.
They told their stories of God's work among them in the world.
This is what we have.
If you think it this not enough, that there is something more sensational that we should be doing, you might be right.

I want to share with you some stories of what I think  it looks like to gather around Jesus in the midst of the world we face.

Liam is the grandson of two of the most faithful members of Concordia Lutheran Church.
Bill and Gail Magan are the people in our congregation that make sure once a month our congregation serves at the soup kitchen, they have been doing it for over 25 years.
They are in worship every Sunday, even if they go somewhere esle.
Liam is a transgender man.
I will not tell you all of Liam's story, because he will be here on Tuesday morning to tell it to us over in the conference center.
But Liam came to our church to tell us his story.
Part of it is that Liam's parents were not supportive of him.
And part of that came from them telling him that God didn't want him to be a man.
Because of this Liam told us he had trouble going to Church.
Liam has a powerful story, and after he left I sent him a text.
"Thanks so much for being here on Sunday.
Your story is inspirational and important.
I don't know if this is helpful but I wanted you to know that God loves you for you."
Liam replied, "That actually means a lot to have you say that!
I was glad to share my story and it was one of the first times I've felt welcomed in a church in a long time."
What are we doing to make the world a better place?
This is what we are doing.
We are reminding people that regardless of who or what they are, God loves them.
This is what we do as Church.
This is what this is all about.
It is a powerful and transformative message.
It is not liberal or conservative it is Gospel.

A couple of times a month in front of the Federal Norris Cotton building in Manchester NH people of faith gather.
We gather there because that is where the office of ICE is.
We gather to support those people who are there to check in.
They might that very day be separated from their family.
They might be sent to Dover to live in a cell.
They might be sent on an airplane back to a country they haven't lived in for 20 years.
When we gather at the building we sing songs, pray, share stories.
And then we walk around the building seven times.
The walk is based upon the story in the Bible when the people of Israel walk around the walls of Jericho.
We have been told by more than one person that our being there for them is a great comfort.
We have been doing it for more than a year, in rain, snow, sun, heat, and cold.
We are not there to protest, we are there as a spiritual symbol to remind the people checking in that in God's eyes no person is illegal.
That God's love is for them in this difficult time.
This is what we do in these times.
We gather, we sing, we pray, we march.
And I will tell you that on more than one occasion I have thought this is silly.
This isn't doing anything.
But as people of faith this is what we have.
We have God's love and we have it to share with others.
It is not about conservative or liberal it is about God's love for all people.
It is for people that are hurting and need others to show up for them.

This is what we do in these times.
In all times this is what we do.
This is what we are doing this morning.
We are gathering together and singing songs about God's love, and reminding each other that we are not alone.
We are sharing our stories of what God has done for us, and for other people.
We are together around Jesus Christ.
It doesn't seem like much, it might not be enough to combat all the evil in the world.
It will not solve all the problems of the crowds that are coming at us with all their needs.
But this is what we have to offer.
This is different than anything else that the world can offer.
We are not giving some grand political solution, those are always dangerous.
We don't offer you utopia, or perfection.
We are giving the world only what we ourselves have been given.
God's love.
Unconditional not based on what country we are from, what language we speak, who we love, what our gender is, or who we vote for.
It often doesn't seem like much, but to people like Liam and the people who have to show up to ICE it changes everything.
So what are going to do to make the world a better place?
Hopefully you will do this.
Amen


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

You Cannot Bear Them Now


"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."
This is how I feel at the end of every confirmation class.
As these fine young people sit here before me I think that there is much still to know about faith and God.
It can't be taught all in two years between 7th and 8th grade.
What these young people have received is the basics.
The baseline of faith.
They received what their parents promised they would at their baptisms.
We learned about the Apostles Creed, the Lord's prayer, the ten commandments, the Bible, and Reformation history.
Those things are the baseline of our faith.
They are the start of the conversation not the end.
But it is all we can bear when we are this age.
It is all that can be taught with the amount of time we have.

But here is always my hope.
That those things will be enough to make you want to know more.
They will be enough for you all to continue to ask questions, and to wonder about God and your faith.
They will be enough for you to at least lean back on at some other point in your life when you need God.
This is the thing about being young is that you don't even know all the ways that you will need God to be with you in this life.
You don't yet know all the things that you will need to face.
And some of those things will be really hard.
It will involve heartache and loss.
I hope in those times that your faith will be what carries you through.

But take heart because Jesus couldn't teach his disciples everything they needed in this three years they were with him.
The disciples didn't even understand all the things they were going to face after Jesus left this earth.
But Jesus assures them that they wouldn't be alone.
That the Holy Spirit would be there to keep them in relationship with him.
The Holy Spirit would continue to teach them the things that they would need to know.
And today I hope that we all feel good about this confirmation of these fine young people.
Because they might not know everything there is to know, but we release them to the Spirit of truth.
We give them over to God.
And we in faith believe that God will be there with them as they go forth from today.
God will be there teaching them about God's grace and love.
God will be there loving them.

Logan, Alex, Emma, Karl, Evan, and Leizel I hope you know that our congregation celebrates this day with you today.
We celebrate that you wanted to confirm your faith.
We celebrate that you have learned some of the basic things.
In faith we give you over to God.
We pray that you will be lead by the Spirit of God.

And we know that in this life you will need God every day.
I was thinking about this.
And in order to demonstrate what we are talking about I wanted to give each of you this sky diver.
On the parachute is written the Bible verse you picked to be your confirmation Bible verse.
Life feels this way lots of times.
Like you are falling through the sky.
Life is going fast, and things seem out of control.
But as people of faith we have a parachute.
We have God.
God helps us to slow down, and to make the landing less painful.

I also did this because this is how our classes would be.
If you ever were around during one of our confirmation classes you would notice that they were loud.
From the outside it would seem like chaos.
It wouldn't seem like confirmation class.
If you are older you might have had a confirmation class were you had to sit at a desk or table.
You had to read the lesson, and the pastor would give a lecture on what it meant.
You maybe had to memorize things.
Maybe you had to take notes, or do homework.
My classes are not like that.
And this class in particular liked to get into the spirit of things.
They were loud, and active.
We had lots of fun.
I really enjoyed these students.
But it seemed like chaos.
But underneath that chaos was something really wonderful.
My confirmation classes are not designed to pump kids full of information.
(Even though there is information shared.)
Because I know that they cannot bear everything now.
It is intended to do a couple of things.
One is to bond the class together.
This class really liked being together and coming to class.
Two, make sure the young people knew that God loves them without condition.
And three to have fun.
We sometimes forget to have fun while we believe in God's grace.

We should always remember that it is within chaos that God does God's best work.
To me that scene on Pentecost is a scene of chaos.
It is a scene were people are speaking many languages all at once, and yet they can still hear and understand each other.
It is God at work in the chaos to form the church.
It is God bringing people together to dream dreams, and see visions of a better day ahead.
When I look at these young people I see in them something wonderful.
The spirit of God.
Logan with all of his passion and energy, with the way he attacks life.
We could always count on Logan for laughs and to ask really interesting questions and to make sure the pastor didn't slip up in any way.
Leizel with her kindness to everyone, with the way that she would go about the task trying her best.
We could always count on Leizel to be kind and thoughtful.
Evan with his charisma, we could always count on Evan to lead us down the lane of crazy and fun.
We could count on Evan to be the life of the party.
Karl with his seriousness and smarts, we could always count on Karl to ask hard questions and go along with the group.
We could always count on Karl to be thoughtful.
Emma with her maturity, we could count on Emma to be the first to participate to be the grown up in the group.
We could count on her to be make sure things did not get too out of hand.
Alex with his constant love of service, we could count on him to help clean up, and to be the person who goes along to make things work.
We could count on him to be the one to give of himself for the betterment of the group.
These six kids give me such hope for the future.
They all have special gifts given by God.
And today we celebrate those gifts, and we look forward to the ways that the Spirit will move in their lives.
We give thanks that God will be there to shelter them, and slow down the hard landings.

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now, and this sermon has gone on long enough."
So let me end by thanking God for Emma, Alex, Logan, Karl, Liezel, and Evan!
And know that the Spirit of truth will continue to guide them in faith.
The Spirit will continue to teach them the things of faith they will need to know.
Amen

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Easy to Love


I was thinking a lot about love this week because of today's Gospel.
"Abide in my love" Jesus tells us.
I have preached on numerous occasions that love is difficult.
How love takes discipline and devotion.
That is true.
Love can be difficult at times.
It is most assuredly difficult to love those that can't or won't love us back.
It is difficult to love people who are unlovable.
This week I experienced something different.
On Tuesday I went to a prayer vigil for immigrants facing deportation.
At that vigil I heard the stories of people living life in fear.
I heard stories of immigrants that don't feel welcomed here, even if they are citizens.
What I felt while listening to those stories was love.
Love for those people who are having to go through very difficult times.
My heart was big and I felt that I wanted for all of them a better life.
This is what Aristotle and Aquinas called the love that wills another's good.
I wasn't mad, I just felt love.
Also on Tuesday I met with some of my colleagues from Concord for lunch and sharing.
We shared about things happening in our lives.
Some very difficult things.
And what I felt in that meeting more than anything was love.
Love for these people who I got to share intimate hurts with.
On Wednesday night I went and heard from Combatants for Peace.
People from Palestine and Israel who used to serve in the military who now advocate  for peace.
Again, I heard difficult stories of violence and injustice.
I heard stories of fear and prejudice.
But also of redemption and forgiveness.
And all I could feel in those moments was love for the people telling them and for the people of that region who are locked in a long struggle for peace.
As I went about my other tasks as pastor.
Bible Study, committee meetings, delivering health kits,  Cinco de Mayo lunch with one of our members.
I remember that our community is built on love.
I feel love when we are together doing the work of the church,  building relationships, giving for others, planning worship.
I was amazed how easy it was this week to experience love.

And that is what I want us to talk about today.
How easy it is to love.
It is true that love can be difficult, but this morning I want us to know it can also be easy.

It can be easy not because people are easy to love, not because the world is wonderful all the time.
It can be easy to love because we here this morning believe in Jesus Christ who came to show us God's love.
Christians are about love.
Jesus told us this morning, "Abide in my love".
Because of this love should be for us easy.
It should be second nature.
When we are confronted with people that are suffering or hurting we should think about Jesus Christ suffering for us and remember that Jesus suffers along with the world because of his love for the world.
When we are confronted with someone who is deemed unlovable.
We should remember that Jesus loves us.
Jesus loves us even though we don't deserve it, we haven't earned it.
Jesus just loves us.
There are times I feel or think I am unlovable, and yet Jesus loves me anyway.
Jesus tells us this morning, "You did not choose me but I chose you."
We are here this morning because Jesus chose to love us.

Love is a constant theme in John's Gospel.
It is a thread that runs through the whole thing.
From John 3:16 ("for God so loved the world) all the way until the end.
Everything Jesus does and says is to show us God's love.
In John's Gospel Jesus dies on the cross so that we might see his love for us.
And when we remember Jesus' love then love isn't so hard.
When we recall that Jesus loves the world.
Jesus loves his disciples.
Jesus loves the sinner.
Jesus loves us.
Then love is just what we are about.

So when we are out there in the world.
When we are hearing difficult stories about hatred, injustice, prejudice, and violence.
When we are confronted with people who seem unlovable.
When we are confronted with new information that doesn't seem to go along with what we thought.
When we are told stories of other people that are different from ours.
It is natural to feel love, to reach out with that love.
At the vigil after we heard a story from one of the immigrants we would pray this prayer, "Dear God of love help us to love."

I have been accused at times of preaching about politics.
I accept that some people see it that way.
I want you to hear me out this morning about this.
My defense of it is that for me it is not about politics.
It is about love.
I am not telling you this morning what you should think about any political issue.
I am telling you that regardless of the person you encounter in life you should love them, not because I said it, but because you know that Jesus loves you.
I know that everything is political, because certain people twist things to make it about who we vote for, or which side we are on.
But what I as your pastor am always trying to get you to see is that it is about love.
"Loving your neighbor"
Abiding in Jesus love.
To be present with people that are suffering, to pray with them, sing with them, hope with them, to love them.
That might be political but it is also what Jesus calls us to do.
Love is political, because someone will always say that you can't love that person.
They are not the right person.
Jesus encountered this all the time.
It wasn't right that he ate with gentiles, with prostitutes, with tax collectors, with the poor, with the rich.
I would hope that you expect nothing less of your pastor.
I would hope you would want a pastor who loves, and who is in the world trying to show that love to others.
If you don't want it from me, it means you don't want it from yourself either.
And if that is true then it is a problem, because we are not abiding in the love of Jesus.
That is what a church is a group of people abiding in the love of Jesus Christ.
And that love is to exist when we are together, and when we are out there in the world doing whatever it is that we are doing.

This week I hope you think about love.
I hope you see how easy it can be to love.
Because you know of Jesus' love for you.
You know that Jesus is your friend.
You know that Jesus choose you.
Abide in that truth.
Live in that truth.
And when you do it will be easy to love.
Amen



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Friday Trauma into Easter Joy


Jesus told them that this would happen.
Three different times he told them that he would die and rise again.
Not only that but our Gospel for this morning happens after Jesus had a appeared to the women at the tomb, the two disciples on the road to Damascus, and Peter.
Why don't they understand what is happening?
Why don't they believe that it is Jesus who is alive?
Because it is our natural position not to trust.
We always doubt first.
Because of this we go into any situation with preconceived notions about how things are suppose to go.
We learn to not trust things pretty early on.

Sam Hartung, a youth  from our congregation, helped me this week with this sermon.
He told me that past trauma's stop us from believing in things.
We have all had that moment in our lives when something happens to us that makes us less trusting of the world.
We have all had that moment when we realized that the world doesn't always work out the way we want it to.
And from that moment on we are less likely to trust things.
We are less likely to trust that things can work out, and can go our way.
Maybe it was the first time you realized that your parents aren't perfect, and have just as many flaws as anyone else.
Maybe it is when a friend says they will do something, but they don't come through.
Maybe it is when you try really hard at something only to fail anyway.
Maybe it was more traumatic than that.

If we think about it the disciples had just lived through the trauma of Jesus dying on a cross.
They thought he would be the one to restore Israel.
He would be the one that would make things right this time.
Only to live through the trauma of watching all of their hopes and dreams die on a cross.
They were thwarted again.
No wonder they don't believe that it is Jesus standing amongst them.

No wonder we don't believe it either.
We have been disappointed many times.
We have prayed prayers that seemed to go answered.
We have had dreams that have gone unfulfilled.
We have been let down lots of times.
We have experienced the trauma of Good Friday, no wonder we are having trouble believing in the resurrection of Easter.

I have been to, or presided at, five funerals since Palm Sunday.
That is five funerals in three weeks.
Some of them we have been at together.
Some of them were of friends or colleagues.
Some of them were for relatives of members of our congregation.
Here is something that you might not believe but they have all been uplifting.
All of those funerals have helped my faith.
Standing among three hundred Lutherans or Methodists singing is an amazing thing.
Listening to sisters, sons, daughters, or friends of the deceased tell about how that person impacted their life, and gave of themselves for them is inspirational.
Hearing sermons from preachers about the promises of God, about the centrality of our faith.
It has been inspiring to be a part of.
It has made me laugh at times, and cry.
But it has been faith filled.
I have felt in all those funerals the power of God, the strength that our faith brings us in those times.

I am not suggesting that death is not sad, or traumatic, because of course it is.
But in a funeral you experience how God takes this traumatic moment of death and transforms it into a life giving moment of faith.
You see and hear and sing in those moments what our faith is all about death and resurrection.
Someone we loved died, but here we are together, and we sing, laugh, and cry together.
We remember the person and God makes something more out of it.

And this is what is so powerful about God.
Is that God transforms our wounds, our traumas, into something beautiful.
God doesn't get rid of the trauma.
Trauma is a part of life.
It is part of being human.
People let us down, life doesn't always work out.
People die, love hurts.
But trauma can be transformed.
What was dead is alive.
Forgiveness is real.
We can be at a funeral and laugh together at something that happened in life.
We can sing past death into a whole new realm of existence.
Coming together makes that possible, faith makes that possible.

I have always wondered why Jesus shows up with his scars?
I would have thought that they would have gone away.
I think this because when we talk about heaven that is how we think of ourselves.
When I get to heaven I will get the best version of my body.
Somewhere between 18 and 21.
I will be young and fit, I will be without scars.
But Jesus has his scars.
He shows them to the disciples.
It is the only way they know him.
Perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to want to do away with our scars.
Perhaps it is the scars that makes us who we are.
It is in the trauma's of life that God makes us who we are.
It is in the trauma's that God transforms us.
It was in this great trauma that God transformed the world.
When before there was only death and sin, now there is life and love.
That is the message of the resurrection.
Things don't have to stay one way.
Our trauma is not the end of the story.
God can transform it so that we can believe in the resurrection of life, the forgiveness of sins, and the company of the saints.

Someone posted this quote, from author AnneLamott, on Facebook this week.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up.
And you come through.
It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
That truth speaks to what God does with our trauma.
God transforms it into good news, into life, into singing and laughing.

Maybe our first reaction is not to trust.
We have good reason not to.
Our past trauma's forge in us preconceived notions about the world and ourselves.
But faith in God helps us sing in the midst of sadness.
Faith in God helps us celebrate a well lived life.
Faith in God transforms our traumas of Friday into the joy of Easter.
May you all have a week filled with transforming your traumas into the joy of Easter.
Amen

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Do We Dare Believe?!


The confirmation kids begged me to start my sermon this morning in a bunny costume.
They thought it would be appropriate because today is April Fool's day.
It would be a funny way to play an April Fool's day joke.
I was going to do it.
I had begun to think about where I could get a bunny outfit.
The problem is that I follow Jesus Christ on Twitter.
On Monday Jesus Christ Tweeted out, "Get your  'Easter is on April Fool's Day'  jokes out of the way right now."
I took that as a sign not to dress up in a bunny costume.
Or try to make Jokes about April Fool's Day and Easter.
But...I do think that there is an appropriate link between these two days.
It seems appropriate because Valentine's day was on Ash Wednesday this year.
So Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.
It started reminding us of God's love.
And end's with April Fool's day.
What could April Fool's day possibly have to do with Easter?

By some accounts April Fool's day started when they changed the calendar.
The year used to start  on April 1st.
But in the year 1582 the French went from April 1st to January 1st.
Some people didn't get the memo, and didn't realize that the year had changed.
Some people as a joke continued to tell people that the new year was still on April first.
April Fool's day became about pranking people.
There have been some great April fool's pranks over the years.
For example the website beliefnet doped people into believing that Oparah Winfry had been added as another part of the Trinity.
In 1996 it was reported that the Liberty Bell was going to be renamed the "Taco Liberty Bell"
In 1992 people were outraged when it was reported that Richard Nixon was once again running for president.

The most famous April Fool's hoax was in 1957 when the  BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.
It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.
Huge numbers of viewers were taken in.
Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.
To this the BBC diplomatically replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
People actually went out and tried to grow spaghetti.
And it would seem that the resurrection is a prank too.
In fact this is exactly what the Roman Government was worried about.
They were worried that Jesus followers would come to the tomb and remove the body and say that he had been resurrected.
That is why we have the big stone, in some telling we have soldiers placed at the tomb.
I wonder this morning if we dare believe this story of resurrection.
It does seem impossible, improbable.
It seems like it is a prank a hoax and we would be fools for believing it.
Like believing that Oprah is part of the Trinity.

We have to first talk about why this is so unbelievable.
What I think might be obvious, but needs to be said is that people don't come back to life.
We know this.
We have all experienced this truth.
We have sat with someone we love as they died.
We have all sat and prayed for a miracle only to have that prayer not answered in the way we had hoped.
People die, we know this as part of our life.
Even more we experience the harsh reality of this world we live in.
This world that seems to be always mean and cruel.
This world that has in it moments of real boredom, repetitive things that we don't want to do.
How do we believe what is so unbelievable?

Mark's Gospel is interesting in its telling of the resurrection.
It ends with the women encountering the empty tomb and leaving in fear without telling anyone about it.
It ends on a cliff hanger.
It ends with question rather than a declarative statement.
It is as if Mark is daring us to believe it.
Do we dare live as if this story is true?
Do we dare believe that death and sin are not the last word?
Do we dare believe that God's love is that powerful?
After all, we have no proof that this is true.

And that brings us to why we continue to tell this story.
Because it affirms life.
Jesus resurrection shows us that there is nothing hire than this life that we live.
And that this life in and of itself is miracle.

The conditions that have to exists that bring about our creation, our lives are a miracle.
The fact that we are here is a miracle.
We are alive today.
God has given us this day, and that is all the reason to believe in something extraordinary and foolish.

There are of course a number of things that are not going well on this day.
Who knows what any of us in this worship are dealing with before we got here this morning.
It could be something really serious, and awful.
It could be that someone you love is dying, or has just died.
It could be that you are losing a major relationship in your life.
It could be that you are not satisfied with your life.
I will tell you that when I was a kid it was a miracle we made it to Church on Sunday morning.
We only made it because of the will of my mom.
She would force us out of bed, she would force us to be clean and neat.
She would force us to be in the car and on our way.
I don't know exactly how she got me to church, never mind getting all of us.
I know I was never happy to be there.
I didn't make it easy on her.
So maybe this morning you had to deal with that.
It is a miracle that you are here.

We are alive!
And that is the message of Easter that God is alive!
Nothing can stop God!
Not the hatred of other people, not the lies that people told about Jesus, not the cross, the nails, the jeering words, not the tomb, not the soldiers.
Nothing can stop God in our lives.
Not sickness, not death, not cranky teenagers who would rather be sleeping, not our belief or unbelief, nothing.
Nothing big or small.
And that is not a prank, that is true.

And Mark's Gospel leaves us exactly at the right place.
Do we believe this truth?
Do we believe that this life that we have been given in all of its sadness, and doldrums, do we believe that it is a miracle to be lived?
Do we dare live as if it is true?

When I was a Counselor in Training at Camp Calumet we would sometimes have these cookouts.
The first time I was with a cabin group at a cookout a counselor asked me to go to the kitchen and ask for a "left handed smoke shifter".
I did just that.
As soon as I asked the head chef for a "left handed smoke shifter" I knew that I had been pranked.
Most of the pranks that people play on others at April fools is like this one.
We send someone off on some errand that we know to be not true.
Like telling people they can grow a spaghetti tree in their yard.

I think that the resurrection is God's call to us to live out our lives in the fullest fashion.
It isn't a prank, it is the real deal.
It is a call to live our lives with compassion, humility, honesty, integrity, generosity, and love.
It is to live every day and moment as if it is a miracle that we are alive.
It is to live a full life, an abundant life.
Do we dare believe it?

So this morning I want to leave you with that same idea.
Everyone was given an egg as you came into worship this morning.
I don't want you to open it up until you get home.
Inside it is a call from Jesus to live a full life.
A task to accomplish that helps us live into the resurrection.
The question is am I pranking you or is that really what is in the egg?
I ask you this morning do you dare believe in the resurrection?
Do you dare believe that Jesus is alive so that we can be too?
If you dare believe that being alive is a miracle.
If you dare believe that Christ is Risen.
If you dare believe that God is in your life then open the egg when you get home.

He is Risen!