Relaxing in the Easter pulpit
My first Easter sermon was long. It was very earnest. I was trying to explain the inexplicable and somehow make everybody (especially occasional attenders) realize how miraculous the whole Resurrection event and promise was.
It was an admirable effort, I guess. I don't think it was very helpful. I needed to relax a bit. It was important, of course, to prepare for such a sermon and to be as clear and insightful as possible. But the burden of explanation didn't lie with me. Easter is a story that tells itself. My task as a preacher was to hear the good news, believe the good news, and share the good news.
In following years I prepared just as hard, but I had accepted the fact that the Holy Spirit was at work in the hearers' lives and my role was to proclaim the Gospel and let God work. The whole thing is still miraculous. It is still inexplicable. And it is still true.
You and I have the privilege of reminding ourselves and others of the great truth of creation. As Paul put it so well in his letter to the church at Corinth, we are handing on as of first importance what we have received: "...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day..." (I Cor. 15:3-4).