Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Easter Service

April 4, 2021
Mark Chapman


Easter Sunday  

April 4 2021


 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts be acceptable in

your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


A Sunday morning about 32 AD

we are with Mary and Mary Magdalene and Salome.

As early as they could they had gone and bought spices

and now as the sun is beginning to rise

our intention is to go to the Tomb where

Jesus body was placed.

Remember he was the one we thought would liberate Israel

and you will remember the shocking events of the last days

last Friday when in less than 12 hours

in the dark of night Jesus was

captured and condemned to death

and then crucified

.Joseph had taken his body and placed it in a tomb

Had we known we would have been more prepared

but we didn't you see because we had thought then it would never happen

that He would die.

And so today on this first day of the week

we are going

to do what we couldn't do

then - wrap the body of our dear friend in spices

we want in some way to sweeten the smell of his death.

We have a concern

the stone disc sealing the tomb

weighs around two tons

two tons of rock jammed down into a slotted channel.


And we wonder who will move the stone for us,

As we move through the mist of the morning

the stone is a symbol is it not

of  the awful separation that death has brought

that death always brings

the wall, the barrier of unknowing

the end of human relationships

that great wall separating for ever those who live and those who have died

that cold unmoving stone

standing between us and those we love

that symbol of defeat

that wall that marks the futility of love

and so it is no wonder that as we walk on our mind

is the question - who will roll the stone away for us

and a deeper cry of

our hearts

who will ever remove that stone

who will ever put an end to death -


Some of the women are ahead of us

they would have reached the tomb and we have heard them cry out

And then have joined us back on the path

looking somewhat anxious if not frightened

and suddenly

the hectic pace of Friday is back

Mary Magdalene is saying something about the body being stolen

the other women are talking about

a man -telling them Jesus had risen

and they are crying and they are running

back along the path

and back to where we have been in hiding

terrified - talking gibberish.

And then they are back in the room

where the others are

pulling them from sleep

telling them things that seem incredible

hard to know just what the women did see and hear.


Peter and James and John and Andrew are all there

John is sitting up and asking questions.

Peter has rolled back over turning his face away from the women

lost in his own hurt; lost in the memories of last Thursday night when

he had cursed and swore and denied knowing Jesus

and had looked up to see Jesus looking at him.


I think it's Salome - Salome has gone over

she has put her hand on Peter's shoulder

"Peter the man at the tomb - all white

all shining

told us to give this message to the disciples

and Peter he mentioned your name

he said tell the disciples and Peter.

Peter He wanted to let you know

He is alive."


There is a cry from Peter - I think almost of a broken heart

almost as if in that moment Peter is feeling

discovering something of the love

of  his master and his own weakness.

John is pulling him to his feet

they have run out the door.

heading themselves for the tomb.


Some of us aren't coping with this

you see this doesn't happen.

Besides Mary Magdalene isn't sure and she was there

with the other woman

she has decided to go back to the tomb

You and I have to make a journey

some seven miles to Emmaus

and suddenly free of the room and the others the grief of the last days begins to

overwhelm us as we walk

The one thing is sure we saw Him die and when He died the dream of the Kingdom

died with Him.

Then there is another traveler on our road of grief

A man has come up a long side us

our pain must be obvious because he has asked why

and we tell him about

Jesus -

and the silly rumour.

Suddenly I want to open my heart out to this traveler

and the grief of the last days is pouring


the fear of the journey of the last months

the hopes we had for the Kingdom

and the power we would have;

and my anger and my pain.

all the garbage flooding out

all the anger

all the frustration we have had with God and

why we had prayed and Jesus had still died

and how he had prayed and he had still died.

The awful curse of death

and just how could Jesus speak of the love of God

when God would allow this to happen to such a good person

didn't He know that we loved Him.


And then it is all out - all the anger of a thousand things that have gone wrong

the fears

powerlessness of poverty

powerlessness when death comes

the unfairness of life.

A hundred betrayals and rejections.


Then in the silence the man is speaking -  somehow His words

finding  a place in our hearts

speaking of a God we know little of here in 32 AD

speaking of a God who indeed cries when His people hurt

a God who

is like a mother hen and would gather her chicks to her;

a God who is not only father but has a mother’s heart

a God who more resembles a lamb than a lion

a God who is a servant rather than a ruler

a God who dies rather than one of His creation perish

a God who loves the world so much

that he would give His only Son

to save them

a God who would suffer with His people

a God who holds the world of the dead so that even if we were to go down into that


yet we would live for he is there.


As he is talking something is happening

deep deep

down in the place where moments before

there was anger

deep down where an accumulation of a lifetimes pain

had built up


in the recess of the unconscious - now empty of its anger

the anger of the generations

empty of its grief

now His words - the words of this stranger on the way

His pictures of God - suddenly pictures of Jesus

as we had known Him.

And with the pictures something else - some spirit almost touching and healing.

And then it's dark

and we would have this man stay with us -

this strange man on our way who knows our heart

and then we are sitting at table

And I would have asked you to ask the blessing

But He has taken the bread

and I can tell that suddenly it has broken upon you

as it has me - that this is Jesus.


And then as suddenly he is gone

and we hurry back to Jerusalem

we will run most of the seven miles

and I know that in your life

something has changed as in mine

Then we are breaking through the door into the upper room

Its almost as if a party has broken out

Andrew is shouting to us -

"The Lord has risen indeed - and He has seen Peter!"


And we have our story to tell and how suddenly when He broke the bread we

recognised Him. Someone has cried out

and then He is there with us in the room

Real, no ghost.


Outside the night;

and within

a Kingdom about to be born

a Kingdom of God

a people for whom the stone has been rolled away

a people of the light of the risen Lord;

And now as we go with Him into the night

and out towards Bethany

no longer the shadows frightening as they had been

only a week ago

now no longer a cloud over our minds

no longer dreams of power

no longer fear of Roman soldiers

for he is with us again.

And He has told us something else

in the days ahead,

He has said, we will be clothed with

a kind of power we could never dream of -

power from on high -

the power of the God who is love.


And suddenly it has broken into my mind

a picture of those I have loved - those I love who have died,

in His presence

still in His love

still held and would be always -

and you and I.

He has done it.

And Sunday will never be the same again.


Now unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, be all honour and

glory, world without end. Amen.

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