Grace Lutheran Church • 6931 Edinger Ave • Huntington Beach, CA • 92647 • (714) 899-1700

Never Say Die – Easter 2019

Ephesians 2:4-9
Pastor Chris Tweitmann

Easter, as the world often celebrates it, is nothing more than a brief weekend escape – a momentary Sunday getaway from the everyday madness and brokenness of our lives. The attraction of the holiday becomes all about the candy, the jelly beans, and the marshmallow peeps. There’s nothing quite like a good sugar rush!

However, if that’s all Easter is – just a bunch of gooey sweetness, all we are likely to be left with the day has come and gone is an artificial high that proves to be as hollow as a chocolate bunny. Candy is dandy. A spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down. But there’s no avoiding the crash, the low on the other side of the rush, that always makes us feel worse and not better.

For others, Easter isn’t about the calories; it’s about all the bright, vibrant colors. The dyed eggs. The bright baskets. The fancy, decorative hats. The flower-patterned outfits. A little splash of color does wonders to plaster over all the darkness and the hurt around us.

Yet again, if Easter is nothing more than a little makeup we apply to cover the cracks and to fill in crevices of our brokenness, then all we are really doing is putting on a brave face as a way of masking a false one. In the end, we can only hide the gloom with pastels for so long
until the grey – the true color of our lives, like the roots of the true color
of our hair, always, undeniably comes back.

But what is the true meaning of Easter offers you something more than this?

What if, Easter isn’t about a little stress relief by loading up on sugar and empty calories?

What if, Easter isn’t about glossing and coloring over all the bumps, bruises, and wrinkles of our lives?

What if, Easter is more than just a holiday we decide to celebrate and in fact, is an invitation into the kind of life previously we could only ever imagine let alone hope for?

You’re invited to discover and experience the true meaning and significance of Easter. This journey, however, asks more of you than just an hour this Sunday. To fully receive and appreciate all you have been missing, the One who comes for you – to change your life, you’ll need to start by joining Jesus tonight in an Upper Room. What he will do, will say, will set the tone for everything that comes next.

On Friday, your next step be to follow Jesus, even as you recognize your own face in the crowd. Where he will go, we cannot follow yet. However, we must confront our own reflection and darkness in where he ultimately goes. At first, we aren’t going to like what we see. But if we don’t look away, we will perceive, perhaps for the first time, what true love is.

On Saturday, before the silence of a sealed burial chamber, we will wrestle with the death we all try to deny and avoid we must face. Life, we will realize, is empty and meaningless without God. In the shadow of the greatest loss we can ever face, our perceptions and our priorities for the life we have been given will change. In the awkwardness of a graveyard seated in a lush garden, we will ponder what real and not false hope looks like.

After these intentional and decisive steps, we will enter an empty tomb and Easter will become more than exaggerated pastels, artificial sweetness, and momentary fluffiness and fuzziness. As we encounter not an elusive bunny, but a very real, present, and living Savior, then and only then, will we understand what Easter offers us – the possibility of redemption, of restoration, of reconciliation, and above all else, RESURRECTION.

Don’t settle for less this Easter. Discover how much more Easter is. Come and see, trust and follow the One who doesn’t just change the meaning of this holiday but promises to transform our life together.

Grace to you!
Pastor Chris