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April 2011

Power From Inside

Second Sunday of Easter

Scripture References: John 11:25 “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” NLT 1 Tim. 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Preparation: Bring along several raw eggs, a clear bowl and a towel. You may also have pictures or even video of a chick hatching.

Because last Sunday was Easter Sunday, we are now in the season of Easter. We get to continue celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive and that Jesus triumphed over death once and for all. Have you noticed that the cloths on the altar are white? This is the color of the season of Easter. (You may point out the symbols and colors in your church that remind us we are still in the season of Easter. The paraments may be white and the pastor may also be wearing a white stole.) We get to celebrate Easter for six more Sundays. Of course, you might not get an Easter basket every week for the next six weeks, but Easter is so important to Christians, that we celebrate the Easter season for seven weeks total.

And because we are still celebrating Easter, I thought it would be fine to bring some eggs to church this morning. You may be tired of eggs by now, but the egg is a fascinating symbol of Easter. Think about what this egg represents. On the outside, it is hard and smooth and you really cannot tell what is inside. If I had a fertilized egg that a mother hen had been sitting on, then this egg would be warm and it would have a baby chick growing inside. The eggs you get in the store do not have chicks inside them. They are just eggs for eating. But some eggs on a farm that are being sat upon by a mother hen and kept warm for a long time, those eggs have something special inside. What comes out of a special egg that is being hatched? (Let children answer.) That’s right. A baby chick hatches out.

Are baby chicks very muscular and strong? Can they break down walls and lift weights? Tell me what a baby chick is like. (Children can give descriptions.) They don’t seem very strong, do they? When they come out of the egg, they wobble around and they have tiny little voices that go “Peep… peep.” If they are so weak, how do they ever make it out of that egg? Eggs are very strong, you know.

Of course, we could crack an egg on the side of a bowl like this, (demonstrate as you talk) and the shell breaks open and you can see the raw egg inside. That was fairly easy, but have you ever tried to crush an egg with your hand? The shell seems pretty thin and fragile. Couldn’t I just squeeze it in my hand and crack the shell that way? Does someone strong want to try? (Choose a volunteer; you could even invite a big, strong grownup to try.) Put the egg in your hand and squeeze with one hand as hard as you can. (The application of pressure from the outside is evenly distributed and the shape of the egg prevents breakage.)

A strong force from the outside does not break the egg in this case, but a force from the inside, the pecking of a tiny chick’s beak, will break the egg open and a little chick can pop out. An egg is a sort of Easter symbol for the tomb. New life comes from inside the egg and new life comes from inside the tomb. Do you know that when Jesus was put in the cold, hard tomb, the ruler of the country at that time, Pilate, was worried that someone would break into the tomb from the outside and steal away the body of Jesus? Pilate thought that they could then pretend that he had risen from the dead. So Pilate had a big heavy stone rolled over the opening of the tomb, and he sealed the tomb and he had guards stand in front of the tomb to make sure that nobody broke open that tomb from the outside. Did anyone break open that tomb from the outside and steal the body of Jesus? No, the force came from inside the tomb. Just as life comes bursting out of the hard shell of an egg, Jesus came bursting out of that tomb. Death could not hold Jesus. On Sunday morning, there was an earthquake and they stone was rolled away and the guards fainted with fright, and suddenly the tomb was empty. Jesus was not in the tomb. Life had conquered death. Love had won the battle.

The power of life and love came from the inside of a tomb which could not hold it in. When you have Jesus in your heart and his love fills you with joy, you have the power of the resurrection inside of you. When God’s love fills you up, it naturally begins to shine out to others. Love and power from the inside is always stronger than meanness and hate from the outside. So if you ever feel like bad things or evil forces are pushing on you from the outside, remember that the power and love of Jesus is within you and God’s love from the inside is stronger than anything from the outside.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being stronger than death. Fill us up with your powerful love so that it will shine out to others and give glory to You.

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