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Words are not enough: An Easter message from Bishop Kiesey

By: Deborah Lieder Kiesey, interim bishop, Dakotas and Iowa Conferences

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My husband Brad told me once about an Easter sermon he heard in his home church when he was young. This minister wasn’t a particularly great preacher, but he gave the only Easter sermon Brad said he could remember (except for mine, of course!).

On Easter Sunday, when the pastor got up to preach, he confessed he couldn’t come up with a sermon for Easter. After thought and prayer, it seemed words were too trite and too overused. He couldn’t find the words to put such a momentous occasion in its proper perspective.

Finally, he said, “All I can say is when I think of this day and what it commemorates in the life of humanity - and in my life - I feel a joy that is greater than anything else I have ever felt.”

He has a point. What can be said about Easter that hasn’t already been said before?

How can words impart the real excitement - the real understanding of the importance, the joy, and the earth-shattering implications of this day? 

There are some things that are just too great for words.

And yet … 

Something so powerful happened on that first Easter that transformed eleven frightened, disillusioned, and disappointed men into courageous missionaries.  Within several weeks of Jesus’ death, they preached his resurrection in the very place where he had been put to death.

Something so miraculous happened that it inspired Peter, within a short time of the crucifixion and within a mile or so from where it had taken place, to preach these words, “God raised him from the dead. Of that, we are witnesses.”

Something so unbelievable happened that changed Mary’s tears to uncontainable joy.

And what happened?

They experienced the power of the love of God—a power that transforms grief to joy, darkness to light, death to life. They had seen the risen Christ. And they would be forever changed.

I don’t know that I can explain it any more than that.

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But what is even more miraculous is that the power the disciples received did not end with them. That one resurrection event continues to transform our lives—today and every day.

For as each one of us faces our own cross … our own darkness … our own despair, we know there is hope. With the resurrection of Christ, we, too, are given the hope that transforms that darkness into light and that despair into hope. Even the greatest fear - the fear of death - is overcome through the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ.

The resurrection reminds me that God’s love will never let me go, for God’s love is stronger than even death.

That is the Good News of Easter!

So, I offer an echo of that childhood minister when he said, “When I think of this day and what it commemorates in my own life and in the life of the world, I feel a joy that is greater than anything I have ever felt.”

“Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia! Alleluia!”    Amen.

Download a copy of this message | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Microsoft Word

UMC

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