SERMON TITLE: “Resurrection Faith”
SERMON TEXT: John 20:1-18
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 21, 2018 (Easter) at First UMC
The eyes of the world were glued to our TVs as we witnessed Monday’s tragic burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The depth of sympathy and solidarity stirred by that destructive fire was evidenced by the number of Facebook pictures rapidly posted of people standing in front of Notre Dame while on their vacations. At first, all thoughts were about the terrible loss of such an important edifice that had, for 856 years, served both as a spiritual home to Roman Catholic faithful and as the historic site of many coronations and other civic events. But when French President Emanuel Macron announced that the cathedral would be rebuilt in five years, donations and pledges started pouring in. Now, it seems, the rebuilding of that great cathedral will certainly happen.
A phoenix rising from the ashes is one of the many images of resurrection. Other symbols are the butterfly which seems to come alive from what appears to be a dead cocoon, an Easter lily that sprouts and grows from a bulb that looks dried up and dead, and a hard-shelled egg from which bursts forth a baby bird. All those symbols, of course, remind us of the resurrection images of the empty cross and the empty tomb, now standing as signs of God’s victorious resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The long history of the Cathedral of Notre Dame is impressive, and we Christians can certainly celebrate the sacred relics that were rescued from the flames—like the crown of thorns said by some to have been worn by Jesus on the cross. But far more important than the crown of thorns raised up from the ashes is the resurrection faith that we Christians associate with it. Because this resurrection faith has given hope and comfort for 2000 years to vast populations around the world, I invite you to consider the Easter story with me this morning. As we look at John, chapter 20, let’s see how we can develop and find strength in this resurrection faith.