Christ is Risen!
Scripture: Mark 16: 1-8
Prop: A Daffodil (or photo)
Good morning, boys and girls! Happy Easter! There is an old tradition in the Church that on Easter, instead of saying, "Hello," Christians greet each other by saying, "Christ is Risen!" And then the person answering back says, "He is risen, indeed!" Let's try that, OK? Christ is risen! (Children answer, "He is risen, indeed!" Try again if kids were slow to pick up their cue.)
I want to share a resurrection story with you this morning.
Once, there was a woman who lived in a cute, little house on the edge of town. Let's call her Jane. Jane took good care of her home, and her happiest hours were spent working in her garden. Jane grew beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables like tomatoes and green peppers every summer. There was a pretty good-sized patch of ground next to the garage where she planted dozens of daffodil bulbs. Daffodils are wonderful to plant because the bulbs multiply under ground on their own, and each year more and more flowers come up and bloom. Here, I have a daffodil to show you. (Show flower or photo.) See how the flower is shaped like a trumpet? Jane's daffodil bed was a spectacular display of cheerful, yellow trumpets every spring.
IN the summer, when it gets really hot, daffodil plants die down and nothing shows above ground until the next spring, when the leaves poke through the ground once again.
Like I said, Jane loved her home, but the time came when she needed to move to a new town. She found another house with space for a garden that she really liked. She sold her house to a young family and moved to her new home.
The Ruiz family moved into the house in July. School was out, and the children loved playing in the yard. Mr. Ruiz owned a small fishing boat, and he needed a place to park it. He saw what looked like a barren patch of ground next to the garage. "Perfect!" he thought. "I can store my boat and trailer there when I'm not fishing."
So, Mr. Ruiz had a parking pad built in that spot. It was made out of black asphalt--like a street. The boat and trailer fit just right and all was well.
Summer ended. School started. The Ruiz family enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas in their new home. Then one day, right around Valentine's Day, Mrs. Ruiz went to the garage for something and glanced over at the boat. The asphalt parking pad looked odd. It didn't seem quite as flat as it did when it was first built. She shrugged and then forgot about it.
About a week later, Eddie Ruiz came into the kitchen from playing in the yard, shouting, "Mom! Dad! Come see!"
The whole family followed Eddie outside. He took them to the parking pad. He pointed under the boat trailer and said, "Look!" The whole square of asphalt was lumpy and breaking apart into pieces. In several places, a little bit of green leaf was peeking out from below the heavy black asphalt. Without knowing it, Mr. Ruiz had paved over Jane's daffodil bed, and guess what...the daffodils won! The life in those bulbs was too strong and powerful to remain buried, even under asphalt.
Easter celebrates New Life! Jesus was dead and buried, but the love of God is stronger and more powerful than even death. God brought Jesus back to life to live with God forever. This is what we call resurrection. This is Easter. Christ is risen! (He is risen, indeed!)
Let's Pray: All-loving and all-powerful God, we thank you for life and for new life in Christ. Thank-you for making us Easter People. Amen.