Saturday Sermon: Understanding the significance of the Resurrection
April 20, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 21, 2011 at 11:22 p.m.
By Rev. Daniel Fultz
Years ago, while attending seminary in Austin, I was one of several students who volunteered each week at an area children's home. This home was expressly for children, both girls and boys who had been sexually abused. The youngest were 3 years old. Because of the abuse they had received, these children had been removed from their homes by the courts and placed in foster homes. Still, the damage for so many had been so great that they were unable to cope with life in foster care. The courts then placed them in this home.
We would go on Sunday afternoon and spend some time with the children, visit with them and conduct a short worship service. The kids seemed to really enjoy our being there. Still these afternoons were emotionally very difficult. Some of the children, sometimes 6- or 8-year-olds, seemed to expect all adults to relate to them in a sexual way. They behaved as though they were much older. We would all leave shaken by the world in which these young children had lived.
One year, we were there on Easter morning. I remember sitting in a circle on the floor with about a dozen children ages 3 to 15. I was telling them the Easter story. Their eyes were wide as I told them about the savior's death and burial. Then I told them about the disciples coming to the tomb and finding the angels there. I told them Jesus had been raised, that he was alive. One little girl, about 8 years old, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Nuh - uh." No way. She knew what death was. At this tender age, she knew that people did not come back from the dead. As I looked into her soft, brown eyes, I thought, how marvelous. This may be the first person I have ever told this story to who understood the significance of the Resurrection. It is unbelievable. People do not return from the grave. This is too good to be true.
Every year since that time, as I prepare to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to those who are gathered in the church where I serve, I think of that little girl, and I pray that those hearing my voice will hear the scandalous good news, as well. They will hear that which cannot happen has happened. The unbelievable has occurred, and God has reached into the world and given life, even where there was no life.
You know, God continues to reach into this world, into our lives, and draw us out of death and into life. It is my prayer for you that this astounding good news will break into your life and all that is broken, all that is suffering, all that longs for life will be healed. May you know grace and peace. Amen.
The Rev. Daniel Fultz is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church.