Today is the highest feast day in the church year. It is the reason why the Christian Church exists. We have now finished the season of Lent. Wonder how we did during our season of preparation for Easter? Jesus died to save us on Good Friday. He lay dead in the tomb until early the first Easter when He rose from the dead. Again the reason why we are here as a people of faith. For the children’s sermon I used a poster with Monarch butterflies on it. It showed the caterpillar changing into a pupa and then eventually into a beautiful adult butterfly that flies all the way to Mexico in the fall. It teaches us that life can come out of death. I also had several Easter eggs. One was filled with a cross, another nails, another a rock and one that was empty ( The eggs told us of how Jesus died on the cross. They told us how the rock was put in front of the tomb. They told us how the empty tomb signified that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Today’s gospel is John 20: 1-18. It is the story of the first Easter. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and found the rock moved and the tomb empty. Notice that Mary was the first disciple at the tomb. She went to tell Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved.) She said, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” She forgot that Jesus said He would die and rise in three days. Peter and John ran to the tomb. John outran Peter but let him go in first. They found the linens neatly piled and the tomb empty. The disciples returned to where they were staying. They realized what Jesus had told them.

Mary returns to the tomb and was crying. Two angels were in white. They said that Jesus had risen from the dead. She turns and sees Jesus but does not know it is Him. He asked why she was crying? Jesus spoke her name and she knew it was Him. I wonder if we recognize Jesus’ voice when He speaks to us? Mary said Rabboni, which means Teacher. Jesus told her not to touch Him since He was not yet ascended to His Father. Mary returned to the disciples and said, “I have seen the Lord.” I am sure the disciples were shocked and overjoyed. And children that is the Easter Story. Alleluia, the Lord is risen. The Lord is risen indeed! Hallelujah!