Easter Season – Monday, April 13
April 12, 2020
Love Lives – An April 2020 Easter Sermon by Pastor Jim Hopkins, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
Over a century ago, in October of 1918, in the midst of the global crisis that was World War I, the invitation went out to all of the Bay Area, especially those families who had members fighting in the war, to come to Golden Gate Park and parade past a movie camera carrying signs, smiles and messages of love. The movie of the event would then be sent to Europe where their loved ones could view the messages, see the smiles and feel the love. Over 150,000 people showed up to convey the message that even in the midst of crisis, or especially in the midst of crisis, love lives.
Love lives. This is the enduring message of Easter. When love is nailed to a cross. It lives. When love is buried in a tomb. It lives. When people are stunned and asking “What in the world is going on?” Love lives.
The Gospel of John tells us that in the early morning dark of that first Easter Sunday Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to find it open, the stone covering it rolled away. Wondering what in the world was going on she ran to inform Peter and the other followers that something most strange was happening. Then Peter and the “Beloved Disciple,” likely a then teen-aged John, ran to the tomb to assess the situation for themselves. Entering the tomb they found it empty with the burial wrappings and head cloth abandoned in place. The gospel tells us that they were greatly confused.
It took some time but slowly, one or two at a time, they came to understand that Jesus, and hence the uncontrolling and unconditional love of God, was alive and well. For Mary this meant that her trust in a God that loved all was not misplaced. For Peter it meant that he could face the fact that he had let Jesus down in a big way but still find forgiveness. For the Beloved Disciple it meant that his youthful exuberance could become a mature faith. For the gardener who watched it all unfold it meant a personal invitation to re-center his life in the teachings of the crucified and resurrected Nazarene.
Love lives. It is the message that would enliven the traumatized community of Jesus’ followers. It is the message that would quickly grow far beyond Jerusalem. It is the message that would change the world. It is the message that meets us in April 2020 even as we shelter in place.
Love lives, it is message that now, as then, is not always readily understood or easily accepted. Yet, it is a message that now, as then, can bring hope in the face of trauma, change our lives and change the world. Love lives.
First half of the week gatherings – Monday, 7:00 p.m. LABC Youth Group; Tuesday 6:30 p.m. No Soup, But Study: Wednesday, Prayer and Bible Study, 10:30 a.m.