Sermons - Trust, hope, resurrection

April 15, 2001

Sermons - Trust, hope, resurrection


Ministers and priests throughout the Tri-State area plan to make a variety of points in Easter service messages today.

The Rev. James Riley of St. John's Lutheran Church in Martinsburg, W.Va., said he will use the Easter service to talk about hope.

So much of what people have is limited to their senses, he said. They need to have something more, and that is provided through the hope of Christianity, he said.

"The Christian message is the most hope-filled message we have as people," he said.

"Easter is about trusting and hoping," he said.

The resurrection of Christ is something that is not provable by science, he said. So for Christians to come out on Easter to declare, "He is risen, He is risen indeed!" shows Christians trust in their faith.


The Rev. Patricia Sebring of Otterbein United Methodist Church, at 108 E. Franklin St. in Hagerstown, said her sermon is on the topic "let go and let God - resurrection's transforming power."

"When we encounter that risen Christ, we have to accept that power of resurrection into our lives and let God take us on that faith encounter to do new and exciting things like loving our enemies, caring for our neighbors and stepping out in faith," she said.

Is this something parishioners forget?

"We forget that we have all been commissioned to go and tell the good news," she said.

And parishioners need to remember that the message of Christianity "is not a secret for us to keep" but something to share with all, she said.

The Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel of Christ's Reformed Church UCC will lead the 6:30 a.m. sunrise service in the parking lot of the church at 130 W. Franklin St.

The sermon topic is "the stillness of the tomb." The service will be quiet in nature, befitting the topic of how quiet and still the tomb was when Mary came to it, Daniel said.

That stillness is the beauty of sunrise services, she said. Easter morning was not full of noise - it was still and quiet, without fanfare and pageantry, she said.

"You must come to the stillness of the tomb before you go to the pageantry and the triumph of Christ has risen," she said.

It is Daniel's second year at the church. Last year for her sermon, she told the story of the resurrection from the viewpoint of Mary Magdalene, starting on Good Friday, and tried to explain what emotions she was experiencing "as she saw a beloved friend murdered."

"And then, walking to the tomb, I can only imagine the emotions she must have gone through of having the opportunity to say good-bye and to grieve" and then to find Jesus not in the tomb, she said.

The Rev. Richard Kroll of the Williamsport United Methodist Church at 25 E. Church St. said his Easter sermon is on "why do you seek the living among the dead?"

He will read the Easter gospel story of Luke and talk about how believers today should experience the resurrection of Christ and continue inviting his presence into their lives, he said.

Before the service, children in Sunday School will have a butterfly launch, but without actual butterflies, Kroll said.

Butterflies symbolize the resurrection. From the caterpillar comes the butterfly, with that change symbolizing the transformation of a new life, he said.

Butterflies will be featured even more prominently at Shiloh United Methodist Church at 19731 Shiloh Church Road near Hagerstown.

"The surprising beauty of butterflies" is church Pastor Lauren Lay's sermon topic. She will explain that butterflies are like the resurrection of Jesus, she said.

The Rev. Gary H. Cote of Christ Fellowship Assembly of God on York Road in Halfway will speak on the sermon topic of "the resurrection of the body of Christ."

"Death is all around us," he said.

After making that point during the sermon, he will explain there is hope.

For many years people have worried about death and sought immortality. But through Christ, we were given an answer to "that death question," he said.

Christ's resurrection shows he will also resurrect the church, Cote said. He will tell how this is not just a story of something that happened in the past but also something that will occur in the future.

If people don't understand the importance and the message of Easter, they won't understand why it's important to believe in God, he said.

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