Easter sermon 2016 John 20:1-18


Happy Easter everyone! Have you had your Easter eggs?  Have you eaten your chocolate yet?  For those of you who gave up chocolate for lent today celebrates not only the Risen Christ! But also the beginning of eating chocolate! Yay! However, Easter is not only about eating far too much chocolate.

Then there are also the films on TV to watch this weekend as we all crash out after Sunday lunch of possibly roast lamb.

Now you may think I’m being too flippant as of course this is the day we celebrate Jesus rising from the tomb.  Death has been conquered.  Christ has fulfilled Gods yearning for us to once again be in full relationship with Him.  Films, though, can speak much about life, about relationship, love and serving others.  These are all Christian themes.

Today I’m going to speak about three films.  The first of which is the Minions.  For those of you who have never seen the Minions films it’s about these small, yellow beings who have a language of their own whose sole purpose in life is too serve the most powerful, clever and successful evil master in the world.  The way they go about serving though is somewhat flawed because they have a tendency to either accidentally kill off their master or end up actually doing good by completely messing up their master’s evil plans. Oh and they also love Bananas!  So much so, that when their new master, Scarlett Overkill, tells them:  “Work for me, and all this will be yours: respect, power…”

Stuart the Minion answers “Banana!” and so Scarlett responds after a pause “ …Banana!”.

So despite their purpose in life to follow evil, the minions have very simple innocent needs.  All they truly want is to please their master and have bananas.  The minions long to serve but have chosen the wrong master to serve.  For they have chosen evil over good.

The second film I have chosen is from my youth.  It’s called the Labyrinth which starred David Bowie who sadly died at the beginning of this year.  The film is essentially about a young girl called Sarah who experiences a life changing reorientation of leaving her childhood behind and entering into adulthood.  The film is full of symbolism as she enters the world of the Goblin King Jared, played by Bowie, to rescue her baby brother Toby whom Jared has kidnapped.  However, Jared, who is basically a spoilt, put upon King who never wanted to be, just wants to be loved and to serve.  But his way being loved and serving others is quite twisted.  He asks of Sarah if she would only “just fear me, love me and do as I say and I will be your slave”.  Later when Sarah asks how he has been generous to her during her life threatening trials in the labyrinth he responds “Everything! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations. Isn’t that generous?”

The point of a labyrinth is not to find the centre but to find your own personal centre.  Sarah has found hers and by doing so destroys Jared and his kingdom by saying “you have no power over me”.  She is free to choose whom she serves and loves.

The final film is Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan from 1982.  The film stars many actors but I want to focus on Spock and his famous quote “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.  On the face of it, this quote seems very deep and profound.  It speaks of service and love for others.  But think again about Spock’s logic.  The idea of the needs of the many being greater than the few is not exactly Christian.  It’s not at all what Christ spoke about in his teachings.  Remember that in one of Jesus’s parables the shepherd left the 99 to find the one that was missing.  In the eyes of Christ the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many. 

Sometimes, we all can get caught up in trying to serve people in the wrong way however good the intentions.  We can get all caught up in trying to love others but fail to see our own personal hidden agendas are not all that innocent.  Then we may find that it seems God loves everyone else accept for you.  It seems God answers everyone else’s prayers accept for yours.  That everything goes well for everyone else accept for you. 

How about if I ask this?  If you were the only person in the world, do you think Christ still would have died on the cross?  That’s quite a challenging question and takes a huge leap in faith to answer.

But the answer is YES! If you were the only person in the world, Christ still would die for you.  In fact he did die for you. For each and everyone in this town, country and the world.  You see it’s only your perspective that thinks God has passed you by.  We might think things like, O God if you loved me you would have done this for me.  But we fail to see that God has the bigger picture for what is good for us.  We continually need to remind ourselves to take on God’s mind and heart because our hearts for ourselves are not as kind and as big and as loving as God’s heart is for us.

Unlike Jared, God doesn’t demand us to live in paralysing fear.  Unlike the minions, God doesn’t demand us to please him or else face crippling punishment.  And unlike the Spock, God views every single person as being worthy of being saved.  You are the one.  God loves you personally. God loves you no matter who you are, what you have done or not done.  God seeks you out. 

And the surprise of the Easter story?  Not only did Christ rise from death but the first people he appeared to. The first people he sent off to share this fantastic good news? They were women! Women who had, so far, stayed behind the scenes.  Women who had very little status in life.

God sees no boundaries, God loves unconditionally.  God who came to serve us.  God who seeks out the lost you and brings you home.  How are you going to respond to God this day?  How will you serve him, serve others? How will your love for God be shown in His world, his kingdom this day?

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