Easter day Sermon: Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18


Are we Easter people or Holy Saturday people? What do I mean by this?

Are we lost in the darkness and confusion of Holy Saturday and in some ways content in wallowing in our inadequacies- in the ways we fall short, mess up and don’t measure up? Are we stuck in the ‘I’m never good enough’ camp?

Holy week is a tough week to get through, it has a lot of ups – Palm Sunday and the victorious entry into Jerusalem is a definite up, but then it all turns rather sour and upsetting and violent culminating in Good Friday and the despair of Holy Saturday.

If we stayed on Holy Saturday we might well be left wrestling with despair and ‘what’s the point’ questions. We may well look about us and see the misery, the failure and the confusion.
But if we are honest, if I am honest, I can get stuck on the Holy Saturday vibe.

Life out there looks a bit grim at times. I feel a bit grim sometimes. I fail, I forget, I am a bit rubbish.
But I am forgetting about Easter day. The resurrection, the hope the new way of life that was made possible by Jesus.

Today is day to remember that we are Easter people. That we live with the promise of new beginnings – freedom from guilt and shame – freedom to embrace the hope of eternal life. Freedom of a life lived in the forgiving and loving arms of our Father God.

All this made possible because of Jesus’ resurrection.
It’s so fantastical we struggle to believe it, to embrace it. But if we dare to believe it, a life beyond our wildest dreams is possible.

Imagine a life where all our mistakes, all our shameful secrets are erased from history. Imagine the freedom we would feel

All that there is is a love to fall into – no condemnation, no guilt trip – just love and an acceptance that actually we are ok. We are loveable, we are worthwhile, we have a purpose.
We are forgiven.

All this is made possible because of the cross.
The cross is an eternal mystery.
How and what happened when Jesus died on the cross – what’s called Atonement – is something that many theologians have spent centuries debating and exploring – and their answers?
Well, a bunch of theories. Nothing conclusive. Nothing universally accepted.
It’s hard to explain experience.

The experience of forgiveness, the experience of hope, the experience of having our relationship with God restored, the experience of living a life fully alive.
It’s a mystery we have to learn to live with.

All I know is that before I believed I lived on Holy Saturday – a bit confused, relying on my own coping mechanisms and not doing a terribly good job of life. But once I accepted Jesus in my life, once I surrendered to the mystery of the cross my life began again.
We are not Holy Saturday people – lost, bewildered and despairing – we are Easter people with a new life offered to us through faith, through trust and a belief that although we might not understand it completely, we are loved beyond measure. So much so that our Father gave his only Son to prove it.

So let us live into this offering – the offer of a life lived in all it’s fullness, a life of forgiveness, a life of freedom and a life of hope. If not now, what are we waiting for?

Let us pray, Father God, we don’t pretend to understand the gift you offer us, so we ask for your help. Grant us the gift of faith so we can live into the people you have made us to be. We echo the words in the Gospel of Mark ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’. And we thank you for this Easter day, the promise of new beginnings, fresh starts and new life. We give ourselves to you for your glory, Amen.

Rev’d Kia Pakenham, 9th April 2023

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