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Love Wins, Easter Sunday, April 9 2023

I heard a story about a teacher who asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up: "President" ," a fireman," and "a teacher." One by one they answered until it became Billy’s time. The teacher asked, "Billy, what do you want to be when you grow up?" "Possible," Billy responded. "Possible?" asked the teacher. "Yes," Billy said, "my mom is always telling me I’m impossible. “When I grow up, I want to become POSSIBLE."

GOD says we are ALL POSSIBLE!! Even when it seems there is NO HOPE left in our lives. GOD says we are all POSSIBLE!! And GOD loves each and everyone of us as his beloved children.


In the end, or really, it is the beginning, LOVE WINS!!

All things of this world pale in comparison to what resurrection power looks like in our lives. New-found meaning, purpose, attention, wholeheartedness, wellbeing, peace: these are the things that matter–the things the Teacher shows us. And no matter how many “wrong places” we’ve looked for love, the graves give way to the light of a new day as we learn to LOVE as Christ loves us.

CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!! This entire Lenten series has been a riff on Johnny Lee's country classic "Lookin' for Love." Each Sunday has been a look at all the "Wrong places" we might look for love.

Power, certainty, status, money, approval, control, fame; "things" are all false paths we take in our search for something much deeper and more mysterious–LOVE—REAL LOVE!! And while love is deep and mysterious, it is so fundamentally ingrained into who we are and, also fundamentally a part of who GOD is, that LOVE is everywhere, IF we have eyes to see.

The Easter message AND the main message of this entire series–is that there are so many false paths toward "looking for love" that actually lead to addiction, emptiness, despair, or death instead.

But when we turn back toward God, confessing and repenting our sin, we turn and walk with Jesus those paths that result in an encounter with real Love. Paths of wholeheartedness, peace, justice-seeking-service to our neighbors, and purpose are the kinds of paths to Love, we see modeled in the ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ. LOVE WINS!!

The Love of GOD is an immovable object--an unstoppable force, and not because it has power or prestige associated with it! Instead, the power of God's love comes from the way it is offered—and that might best be described by using a word in Greek: “kenosis.”

GOD’S love is poured out, kenosis, poured into us by the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s love was poured out as his blood was shed on the cross.

Love that cannot be stopped is love that isn't trapped by fear or attachment--it is love that is not hoarded but rather poured out and overflowing. Because the unstoppable love of GOD has no end, its power is in how it is given away! LOVE WINS!!

No one ever loved Jesus more than Mary Magdalene, who Jesus healed from demons. The part that love plays in this story is extraordinary. It was Mary, who loved Jesus so much she stayed and watched Him be crucified and was the first at the tomb.

She comes in love… but ALSO IN DARKNESS; not just the darkness of the sky, but the darkness of her soul. Her love may have been strong; but she couldn’t see anything left to hold onto.

He was gone and the world without Him was dark… dark around her … dark within her. We have all experienced deep darkness! We have all had great loss in our lives.

The stone was rolled away!! Mary ran back and told Peter and the other disciples what she had seen. Peter and John raced each other to the tomb and Mary followed them. John looked in, and Peter walked in. Then John walked in, and the Bible says, “…he saw and believed.”

John believed because he believed before. He believed Jesus; and what Jesus said about himself and GOD.

John saw and believed... It’s not so easy for some of us.

If you want to grow in faith, get into GOD’S Word and ASK GOD!! And GOD will help you!!

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him."

And then “a presence” was beside her. But what can she hope for… a gardener. The presence of one she loves… longs for…but she can’t see clearly through her sadness. Her head and her heart are turned downward in her tears.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, Why are you weeping?” Jesus knew but encouraged her to cry out to Him. The hope of Easter begins in that place where it’s hard for us to expect much…to see clearly… to recognize GOD’S presence through our tears and trials… our fears and frustrations.

But the voice of Easter morning would penetrate the darkness. What Mary heard and saw that Easter morning would change her life forever… and can change ours. Jesus came to Mary because she needed him. We all need HIM.

He knew better than she did that we ALL need a Risen Savior.

She was only the first.

Jesus called her by name, Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out "Rabboni!" (which means rabbi, or Teacher, or master). A familiar voice with the ring of LOVE AND GRACE, calling her by name....MARY

That was all it was; THAT WAS ALL IT TOOK AND that was enough!She knew WHO IT WAS.IT WAS her teacher, her master.It was the crucified Jesus!Jesus

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