Love on the Loose
Date: April 16, 2017 Easter Festival Service
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells
When you hear the name Serena Williams, one thing comes to mind, right? Tennis. She is known for being one of the premier tennis players in the world.
Bill Nye is famous for, of course, science. I bet he’ll be at the science march in Washington, D.C. next Saturday.
If you follow soccer, then of course you know Cristiano Ronaldo, forward for Real Madrid and the Portuguese National Team.
Michelle Obama is famous for being first lady. She won the hearts of people the world over and she promoted healthy eating and exercise.
J. K. Rowling was unknown, until Harry Potter. Now she is famous for the world of wizarding that she created in her books.
Stephen Hawking has brought theoretical physics into mainstream thought and conversation. That is what he is famous for.
Jamie Foxx is famous for being an actor and comedian.
When we hear of Malala Yousafzai, we know she is famous for promoting education, especially education for girls around the world. And for being the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Different people are famous for different things.
So, each Sunday we come to church and we talk about Jesus. We remember him more than 2000 years after he lived. Why is Jesus famous? What is he known for?
Jesus is known as a teacher who taught people about God and life and being good. We are told that he healed people. He is famous for that. There are stories that tell us that Jesus fed people. So, Jesus is famous for that. Jesus was crucified, as were thousands of other people, but he is certainly famous for that. There are stories that tell us of Jesus being raised from the dead so Jesus is known for the resurrection. All of these different things are important. Maybe keeping all of these things in mind, we could say that Jesus is famous for being loving. He is known for his love for God, for his family, for his friends, and maybe what makes him really famous is that he is known for loving those who did not like him or did not agree with him. He is known for loving his enemies and opponents. He is even known for loving and forgiving the people who were responsible for his death. So, I think we can say that Jesus is famous for his extraordinary commitment to love.
We are told that after Jesus died, his body was put in a tomb, like a cave, with a large rock in front of the opening. People thought that was the end of Jesus. It was all over. It was the end of all of that love that he was famous for. Finished. But the Bible stories tell us that the stone was rolled away from the opening of the tomb. The tomb was empty. The love got out. It was released back into the world. God’s love can’t be stopped.
Jesus’ friends and followers thought Jesus was dead and gone and his love with him. But they got together and talked about Jesus. The reminded themselves of their experiences with him. Remember when he did this . . . I’ll never forget the time he did that . . . And they kept up doing what they had done with him: Taking care of each other, praying, healing, sharing stories, and they recognized that the love was still there. It was among them. It was within them. It was in the world. Jesus’ love wasn’t dead and buried. It was still a powerful force in the world. In fact, it even seemed like it was getting stronger.
Easter is a celebration of the Divine Love that is stronger than death; love that cannot be killed and buried. Easter is held in the spring because this is the time, especially in places where there is a very cold winter, that the plants come back to life, and leaves come back onto the once bare trees, and flowers appear from the cold, hard, ground. The new life of spring emerging from winter is a powerful image of life emerging from death. Love may be dormant but it is never dead and gone.
Jesus, famous for his loving, changed the world. And love is still changing the world today. Love inspires people to work together for peace even in the most difficult situations. Love is at work for healing in the world. Love is making things more fair for everyone. Love is helping us learn to take better care of the Earth. The power of love seeps in through even the smallest crack. Love invades with the force of thousands of voices raised. Love can always find a way. The power of love is loose in the world; it cannot be stopped.
It isn’t fading. It isn’t evaporating. It can’t be gathered up and put away. It can’t be deleted. It can’t be erased. It can’t be contained and buried and stored. Even in a remote location. It will get out. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. There is simply no stopping God’s love. Amen.
A reasonable effort has been made to appropriately cite materials referenced in this sermon. For additional information, please contact Lakewood United Church of Christ.