Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, 2013

I admit it.  I love preaching.  I especially love preaching on Easter.  It is not really the crowd.  It is the text.  Easter Sunday gives the preacher a great text.  It is only a shame that our preaching is so often mediocre when such a great text is there on the pulpit before us.  Sometimes we want to get too cute with the story of the resurrection, or we try preach something we think people want to hear.  When we make that choice, it is certain that we are blowing the greatest preaching opportunity of the year.  We look at the text and take the verses about not being afraid and preach about the fears of our life.  Or, we take the passage where Jesus calls out Mary's name and we preach about how good it is that Jesus knows our name.  Or, we say that when we hear Jesus calling our name, our life is different.
All are good ideas to preach.  But, not on Easter Sunday when there is this powerful, earth shaking, soul changing Word out there for us to proclaim.  It often seems that we preachers are afraid to preach that simple message that Jesus rose from the dead.  Are we afraid to say Jesus is alive and that because He lives, we, too, shall live?  Why would anyone have such a message and not preach it?  Who comes on Easter Sunday morning not needing to hear this Word that transforms living and dying?  If it is not preached on Easter in the church from our pulpits, where in the name of God will it be heard?  Certainly, not in the school.  Not in the workplace.  Not in the ball parks.  It is not being proclaimed anywhere else in all the world except in the place where those of us who preach the gospel are standing.
Woe is me if I do not preach this gospel that has at its center the resurrection of Jesus!  Woe is me if I do not preach the way the reality of resurrection changes our every decision!  Woe is me if I listen to what the world says should be said and preach not the Christ crucified and risen!  What a day Easter is for preaching.  May it be done with Holy Spirit power every Sunday, but, oh, most especially on the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!

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