Sunday, April 25, 2010


John 10: 22-30, page 760
Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
I wonder if the Amish deal with resentment the way I do. It’s so easy for me to become envious of people around me who seem to have more than I have – more house, more money, more cars – or not necessarily more maybe just better – a better house, a better car, a better phone, so I wonder what it’s like for people whose religion demands that they go without so many things that I take for granted.
Last Wednesday I was sitting in the Senior Pastor’s office as my office was being used by a group for their Bible study, and I was sitting on the couch in there and started thinking – this couch sure is nicer than mine, this room is so much bigger than my office – it sure would be nice to just move in here, but I can’t – I am your associate pastor, and while I may function as your only pastor right now, the rules of our denomination prevent me from ever becoming the permanent senior pastor of this church.
There are rules that prevent it, as there are rules that prevent lots of people from doing lots of things, and it’s easy to resent whatever it is that keeps us from doing what we want – so I wonder if the Amish ever get resentful of construction folks who can build houses with power tools, who can lift heavy beams with cranes, and who can put up a house in half the time with half the labor - I wonder if they ever get resentful, look down at their simple hammers comparing it to a nail gun and start to grow resentful at the god who they follow and who they believe would keep them from having the things that everyone else takes for granted.
We all do that I think, and sometimes, when it comes to religion preventing us from doing the thing that we want, it’s easy to resent God. Ultimately if it’s the rules of religion that we resent we end up resenting the God who we believe is the source of those rules.
As though the Shepherd were keeping his sheep from doing what they would like – he’s holding them back from doing what they’d really like to be doing.
In high school that seemed true – what I believed about God and what I believed about how the church and the Bible said I should live kept me from doing a lot of things, that at the time I really would have liked to have been doing.
And to some degree the same is true today – and not just today in general – today, right now today, because I believe that God does call me to give 10% of what I’ve been given back, so I’m faced with thinking about all that my belief in God is keeping me from. Looking at the amount on my pledge card, doing what I believe God would have me do is keeping me from spending a good chunk of money on myself which would be fun, or, if I’m thinking responsibly, doing what I believe God would have me do is keeping me from spending a good chunk of money on Lily’s college education.
But instead I’ll be giving that money to the church and if I’m not careful I’ll get resentful of God because God is keeping me from spending my money the way I would like to be spending it.
Just as today is the day when we dedicate ourselves to the church once again, financially with our pledges, and with our time through the time and talent form, our scripture passage for the day occurs on the Feast of Dedication.
Then came the Feast of Dedication our scripture passage begins – it was winter and Jesus was walking. What was being dedicated isn’t exactly clear, but what we can assume is that it was the time of year when folks began thinking about where their allegiances lie, so a group comes up to Jesus saying, “if you are the Christ, then tell us plainly.”
Jesus isn’t one for plain answers, though his response here in John comes close: “I did tell you, but you do not believe.”
What they wanted I guess was a yes or no answer, what they got was something like – “it’s not what I can say that is going to make the difference, it’s what I’ve been doing. The miracles I do in my Father’s name should speak for me.”
And the miracles that he did in the Father’s name should speak for him, should convince us that Christ is not the kind of shepherd who keeps or holds his sheep back from something – Christ is the kind of shepherd who protects his sheep from harm, who even lays down his life for his sheep.
It was winter at the Feast of Dedication, and while today it’s nice out it is still winter for so many of you. So much is scarce, times are tight, and I know that you can think of a million things to do with whatever amount of money you’ve written down on your pledge card, or maybe you haven’t written anything down as times are so tight you’d rather hold close what you have for fear that there won’t be enough.
But remember this: the shepherd who calls you to follow him, who on this day of dedication calls you to obedience, doesn’t ask for you to give up something to keep you from spending that money as you would like, to keep you from having the financial security that you desire, but like a shepherd, Christ seeks to protect you from danger.
And danger is so truly lurking all around us, tempting us at every turn.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend a preaching conference at Emory University’s seminary, the Candler School of Theology, where one of the great preachers of our time, Dr. Fred Craddock was lecturing. He talked with us about greed by telling us a story.
“It’s good to go to the Waffle House,” he said. “They make a good BLT. You have to take a shower after, but it’s good to go to Waffle House.”
So Dr. Craddock sat down at the table and the waitress comes and says, “Do you know what you want?”
“Coffee,” he says.
She returns to the table with the coffee and Dr. Craddock looks around the table, sees the sugar but doesn’t see the cream. “Do you have any cream,” he asks.
She goes looking for it, patting around, “I can never find anything in this capricious apron.”
“Capricious,” Dr. Craddock says, impressed and thinking, capricious is not a word one often hears at the Waffle House. Capricious is not a word one often hears at the Candler School of Theology for that matter.
Once she locates the cream she puts down 7 on the table.
“But I only need one,” Dr. Craddock says.
“It’s better to not want and have than to want and have not,” the waitress returns.
“Are you a waitress or a philosopher?” Dr. Craddock asks.
“If you only want one then I’ll take the rest of way,” the waitress answers.
Dr. Craddock responds saying, “Yes, please take the rest away. Isn’t it best to know what you want? I know what I want so take the rest.”
The waitress, before leaving then says, “So few have reached such a level of freedom.”
Its only cream, but it’s the truth. And if you want to be free, free from constantly wanting more, free from turning into a bottomless pit that our economy would have you become, then listen to the shepherd, who would not keep you from salvation, but would ensure that you reach that green pasture, will lead you beside the quiet waters.
Do not be oblivious to the danger of holding money too tight.
Don’t be so idealistic to think that you’ll reach a point in time when you will have enough and be able to give away the extra, as our world will see to it that you’ll never feel like you have enough.
Give some of it away now and be free.
Give some of it away now and be free from the worry of not having enough, be free from the insatiable hunger for more, more, and more. Be free.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Would Like to See Jesus

John 12: 20-36, page 762
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
The one who loves his or her life will lose it, while the one who hates his or her life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I , when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, “The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The one who walks in the dark does not know where he or she is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons and daughters of light.”
When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
On more than one occasion, I must confess, I’ve made fun of the great 20th Century governor of Texas Miriam A. Ferguson. Though she was a college graduate in a time when so many women were left uneducated, was the second female governor in United States history and the first female governor of the great state of Texas, was by most accounts, a great leader, a populist, a fiscal conservative, and a great opponent of the Ku Klux Klan, is perhaps most famous for saying, “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for Texas schoolchildren.”
Jesus, you see, did not speak English. He spoke a language called Aramaic.
But seminary students, trained to read scripture, in the language scripture was first uttered in, learn to read, not Aramaic but Hebrew and Greek.
I knew why I was supposed to learn Hebrew, but on my first day of Greek class I had no idea why we were being forced to learn Greek and I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t learning Aramaic.
I was too embarrassed to ask anyone why we were learning Greek however, so I just went on learning it, not knowing why I was learning it, until one day I overheard a conversation on the subject: “Greek was the universal written language of Jesus’ world.” So the Gospels were not written in Aramaic as it was not a written language, not Hebrew as only Jews learned to read it, but Greek, the language of Asia Minor, Ethiopia, and Spain. It was at the time of Jesus, the written language of the Roman Empire, what Latin was to the world for much of the Common Era during the great expansions of the Roman Catholic Church, and what English is to the world today.
From Brookwood and Parkview to schools in Tokyo and Paris, even rock bands in Kabul, Afghanistan, English is the closest thing the world has today to a universal written language.
It is the language of the most powerful nation on earth. It is the language used in the most exciting movies anyone can see; it is the language of President Barak Obama, William Shakespeare, and Wall Street.
People who have something to say to the world today are saying it in English, just as people who had something that was worth saying in the ancient world wrote it in Greek. It was the language that people who were educated enough to be literate learned to read, it was the language of Homer and Plato, the language of democracy, power, empire, and influence.
So these Greeks go to Philip, we assume that something about living in Bethsaida in Galilee meant that he could understand their Greek or that they all could speak Hebrew, these Greeks go to Philip in the hope of seeing Jesus but it’s important to think about why.
They didn’t need Jesus the teacher – they were Greek and they had the greatest philosophers of the time – and as we still learn of them today you might argue that these Greeks had the best philosophers of any time. They had Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Diogenes who said that life was best lived impulsively, follow your desires he said – and should you take the opposite slant the Greeks also had the philosophy of the Stoics, suppressing passion, living life to the fullest by avoiding emotional investment.
Unlike so many I assume that these Greeks also did not need Jesus the healer to deliver a miraculous healing as they had Hippocrates and the most modern medicine available to help them avoid suffering, illness, and disease.
Nor did these Greeks need Jesus the Prince of Peace as they already had democracy, they trusted the voice of the people, and were able to avoid the tyranny of leaders too powerful through election.
They didn’t need any of the things that people often go to Jesus looking for, so maybe we should wonder why they went up saying, “We would like to see Jesus.”
As like the Greeks, you could say that we don’t need Jesus to teach us anything, anything worth knowing is already in English.
Like those Greeks who went to see him, you could say that we don’t need Jesus to heal common ailments necessarily, we have doctors and hospitals.
And you could say that we don’t need Jesus the Prince of Peace to deliver us from tyranny as we have the right to vote and can deliver ourselves from tyranny.
But maybe like us, this group of Greeks still knew that something was missing.
That despite all their wisdom there were still some questions left unanswered.
That despite all their medicine there was still something that plagued them.
That despite all their democracy there was still some power they still could not touch.
That despite all they had to enhance life something was wrong.
So Christ gives them death: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.”
Everything in Greek culture, and possibly even more so in our culture, is focused, not on embracing this truth but on avoiding it – our literature celebrates life, our medicine extends it, our government’s purpose is to provide for the means of attaining life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – so what Jesus has to offer is not only foreign, it is completely different from anything else our culture has to offer.
The way of Christ is not the way of our culture, as Christ does not fear death!
What Christ offered those Greeks must have seemed foolishness then, but Paul would say, “the message of the cross is foolishness… but the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
What we have in Christ is foolishness to much of the world – that life is to be lived, not by fearing suffering, hardship, and death, but that life is to be lived with all of these things in plain view for death is not to be feared as death is not the end but the pathway to the new beginning.
That what the world fears more than all else has been concurred for Christ has risen from the dead – out of the tomb has come life.
Out of hardship has come new life.
Out of shadow comes hope.
The Greeks came to see Jesus, and in him they found something they had not seen before.
In him may you find the truth, that out of hardship comes new life, and that hope bursts forth from shadow, and that life streams from the tomb.
May you see Jesus, the light, and become sons and daughters of the light.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That You May Believe

John 20: 19-31, page 769

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his or her sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.
Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Believing can get to be tricky business, especially for educated adults.
That point was illustrated in an email forwarded to me by Peggy Trettel this week:
A little boy opened the big family Bible, and he was fascinated by it as he fingered through the pages, that seemed to his eyes to be ancient.
Suddenly something fell out of the Bible. He picked the object up to find that it was an old leaf someone had pressed between the pages.
“Mama, look what I found,” the boy called out.
“What have you got there dear?”
With astonishment in the young boy’s voice he answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear.”
I guess it happens slowly that we stop expecting to see the Mighty Acts of God unfold right before our eyes. We see a leaf and we don’t see Adam’s underwear, we just see a leaf, but worse than that, what we read in the Bible becomes, not historical events that we expect to see the evidence of, but stories not unlike any other story we’ve heard.
Slowly but surely we associate, not with the young boy from the story, but with Thomas – known down through generations of history as the great Doubter.
And Thomas is easy to associate with. He simply asks to do the thing that we all want to do. If what the disciples say is true, if what the church says is true, if what the Bible says is true than let me see something that proves it!
Essentially I think we all, wisely, feel that way from time to time.
Not many people sign up for experimental surgery, as there is no data telling you whether or not the procedure will be worth the risk.
I don’t expect anyone went up to Orval and Wilbur Wright asking for a lift the first time they defied gravity in the airplane – someone had to try it first to prove that it was safe.
And Thomas wasn’t going to just take the disciples word for it, but wanted himself to touch Christ’s wounds before he would believe.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
This statement is for us – gone is the time to touch the wounds for proof, and while when we were children we may have been trusting enough to believe just because its what we were taught, we now must face the reality that Christ is not here to prove himself to us – so for many of us, doubt is a locked door that stands in the way of living out the Christian life – we don’t talk about our belief to others very often, because all too often we’re afraid that we might be asked to answer a question we’re not prepared to answer: so you’re a Christian, do you really believe that all of humanity came from one man and one woman?
So you’re a Christian, do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?
So you’re a Christian, do you really believe all those stories in the Bible are true?
Like a locked door, our fear of having to face the questions that may in fact expose heart our own doubts, ensure that we keep the gospel to ourselves.
If we study our scripture passage closer we’ll find that the disciples we’re not very different at all in this respect. They were shut in by a literal locked door. For fear of the Jews they were together in hiding behind a locked door when Jesus came to them to prove to them that he had in fact risen from the dead, and to send them all out that they would not keep this truth to themselves:
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his or her sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
You would think that after such an encounter the disciples would have been beating that locked door down to get to the work of spreading the Gospel, but instead, Jesus comes to them again through that door locked out of fear. They had not gone anywhere; they had not done anything though they had proof that Christ had risen from the dead.
A locked door kept them from living out their calling, just as doubt, like a locked door often keeps us from ours.
Fear of death kept them from emerging from their safe room, just as fear that we might not know what to say keeps us from speaking out about our faith – and if you really think about it, we have a better excuse than they did as statistics show that people fear public speaking more than anything else, more even than death.
Rev. Jim Fisher, a minister who is able to worship with his family here often and who regularly attends the Men’s Breakfast Bible study joked last Thursday – “What do you get when you mix a Presbyterian and a Jehovah’s Witness?”
“Someone who knocks on the door but doesn’t know what to say.”
So often we don’t know what to say, but more than that I think we doubt the power of our words. That’s why what Jesus said about words is so important: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
A great preacher of our time, Barbara Brown Taylor said of this very verse: “seeing is not superior to hearing” as here Jesus puts on equal ground the proof of his resurrection and the word spoken of his resurrection.”
We do not have proof – but do not doubt the power of your words.
I say so because in today’s world your words will do more than you can imagine.
This past week a group of men cut down a whole bunch of trees that grant our church greater exposure from the road. I think we all hope that greater exposure from the road will bring more people into our church – but just because people can see a restaurant doesn’t mean people are going to try it.
What every business owner knows is that nothing matters more than word of mouth – and interestingly one of those men asked our own Dave Adcock about our church, what we are about, and what makes us special. Dave wasn’t sure what to say at first he told a group of us, but after going on about this and that the man told him, “Oh don’t worry about it. We live up in Monroe.” Dave told him plainly, “We’ll, this church would be worth the drive.”
He’s right of course, and I can tell you why this church is worth the drive again and again, but you already know why.
Because you have been here you know, but let’s be thinking about those who have not yet seen but need to know.
The disciples had to take the gospel of Christ out beyond their locked doors, and you must take it out beyond your locked doors of fear and doubt to offer what we have here to a people who need what we have.
If you are looking for something to say, don’t worry about Adam and Eve or the proof of the resurrection:
-Just tell someone who loves music how fantastic this choir is
-Just tell someone who needs a community, that here people pray for each other, care for each other, and most of the time, will take the time to learn your name.
-Just tell some parent with young kids about our preschool bursting forth with light and laughter and love.
-Just tell some parent with teenage kids about our youth group where they can actually get to know their leader, call her on the phone, and be friends with her on facebook.
-Go and tell someone who hates church because the pastor talks for too long that your pastor preached an Easter Sunday sermon that lasted 7 minutes.
And if you really want to get at what matters – go and tell someone that Good Shepherd has nurtured your relationship with God, and if you don’t think that that’s exactly what every person alive wants and needs than you are mistaken.
If the disciples had stayed behind their locked door you would never have heard the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ – so don’t keep what you have found here to yourself.
Unlock the door, go out, and tell someone about what you have here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Then They Remembered

Luke 24: 1-12, page 748

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!
Remember how he told you while he was still with you in Galilee: The son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”
Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Many a preacher has spent his or her Easter Sunday sermon on what theological types call “apologetics,” that is, rational argument to convince listeners of the truth of the resurrection.
But it occurs to me that this task is pretty difficult when you consider what all the disciples heard, and yet, they could not believe it.
The disciples rejected what the women were saying as nonsense our pew Bibles say, but this word has also been translated as “an idle tale”, “legend”, “foolishness”, or “mere fantasy”.
Jesus had warned them, and they knew enough about this man to take him at his word. They had seen him do the impossible – heal so many people who had been waiting for someone to do what a doctor could not; but not only that, they had seen him raise others from the dead. So when he fulfilled the prophecy about himself that he spoke to them they should not have been unbelieving, they should have been expecting it all along.
Instead, fearing that they might be discovered and meet the same death on the cross that their leader had suffered, they hid as though they had no idea what was going to happen next and wanted nothing more than to survive.
When you really think about it, if they had been paying attention to what Jesus had been saying, they should never have let those women waste their money on burial materials because they should have known that there would be no body to bury – that there would be no corpse to embalm.
On hearing that what Jesus said would happen had actually happened, the disciples acted as though they didn’t have time for stories and wouldn’t hear anything of it.
What should have been expected had become for the disciples nothing more than foolishness; some broken promise that they knew now would never come true. They had given up on their dream of a new Kingdom, and now was the time to put foolish stories away.
The same is true for so many of us today – now is certainly not a good time for stories.
Families of Russian subway victims, mothers, wives, children, husbands, and friends – their tear- stained cheeks laid down on loved one’s caskets don’t want to hear stories about how everything is going to be hunky-dory.
The unemployed don’t need a children’s story to boost their self-esteem, they need jobs.
And the disciples had watched their leader suffer from a distance, but not a distance far enough away to avoid his screams as they nailed him to the cross, not far enough to miss the brutality of his death by human hands – not far enough away to mistake the cruel message Rome sent anyone who would stand in its way.
The Gospel was a good ideal for a while, but this is not the time for stories, they said, this is the time for survival.
So they abandoned their heritage of faith out of fear, as though faith were not for just such a time as this.
There are plenty of people in the world who believe things about Christianity that just are not true – that for Christians every day is sunshine and roses, that smiles are permanently pasted on our faces – but I’ve read the Bible and I feel confident in saying that not a single one of the good books was written when everything was going great, but when everything was falling apart.
Faith was not given to us so that we would best enjoy the spring time, but it was given to us so that when the waters rise, when Pharaoh tightens his grip, or when Pilate sentences Christ to die, we do not give up, but go on believing.
Unfortunately, like the disciples, it is during hardship and when we are most afraid that we turn away from the very thing that will help us through.
The recession has hit hard and businesses have cut back, but where unemployment hurts the worst is when it gets at how you feel about yourself. When unemployment strikes we forget our faith; we forget to have faith in ourselves.
Finances get tight and the very first thing to be cut from our budget is benevolences. When finances get tight we forget our faith, we forget to have faith in the God who will provide enough.
Believing that there is a reason things happen, that there is a God working on our behalf, these are convenient truths that we forget when life gets hard, and so we forget to have faith in the God who works for good in hardship, who makes all things new, who parts the waters and makes a way where there was no way before.
We leave these stories behind as though they were just foolishness, push them away as though they were fairy tales in favor of what would seem to be the truth.
So those men in clothes like lightening stand before us today, calling us to remember what he said so that we might make sense of the world around us:
“Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”
Then that group of brave women remembered his words.
Only in remembering did any of it make any sense – only in trusting that all of it was part of some divine plan could they see beyond their fear and into the future.
-That before there was Rome there was God, and God is still here today while Rome has crumbled to ruins
-That before this recession there was God, and God is still here for you today, will be here tomorrow, outlasting unemployment, foreclosure, and self-doubt.
-That before there was even an earth there was God, and when all of this falls away there will still be this God’s love, outlasting all your fear and all your doubt.
It is so easy to forget and so you must remember that Christ promised death would not have the final word – now open your eyes, remember and believe that Christ has risen!