John 20: 1-18

Illustrated New Resources

  • Everybody Was a Mess

    by Jim Chern
    Happy Easter! It’s good to say that – to people, from a pulpit on Easter Sunday, rather than into a camera live streaming it without any idea who’s “tuning in.” I’ve been reflecting throughout Lent on what this Easter might be like, or feel like, after last year. It was and continues to be such an unprecedented time that it is hard to put into words. That’s when a commercial came on the other night that seemed appropriate. I’m sure many of you have seen it, it’s been on for the last couple of weeks, from the food delivery service Uber Eats with former Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones. It opens with her having “loaded tots” delivered as she sits down to watch March Madness. When all of a sudden a second “Leslie Jones” appears who seems transported from 2020. She perfectly captures 2020: she is completely disheveled – hair all over the place, in her pajamas banging on a piano. She turns to present-day Leslie Jones and says “I think you better double them tots…” Where present-day Leslie says “No – this me was last year.” To which 2020 Leslie Jones snaps back, “I didn’t get my madness last year, so WE’RE doing double this year…” as she sits down at the couch with her. Present-day Leslie Jones looks with horror as she says, “You are a mess” to which her former self yells “EVERYBODY WAS A MESS.”...
  • What a Flower Can Teach Us About Jesus' Death (And Resurrection)

    by Terrance Klein
    In 2020, the poet Louise Glück became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Her poem, “Wild Iris,” begins with a description of death, the sort of death something made of earth and growing there might recount if it could speak. In her poem a wild iris shares its own story of resurrection with us. It begins by telling us: At the end of my suffering there was a door. If it could speak, would a wild iris say that death is not something singular, that it can summon the experience to mind? That it remembers dying each year only to rise again to life? The poem continues: Hear me out: that which you call death I remember. “Buried in the dark earth,” might a living bulb be aware? That is what the poet suggests. It is terrible to survive as consciousness buried in the dark earth. Our consciousness cannot imagine its own cessation...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • *Easter Ethel

    An illustration
    ("The lady's name was Ethel Lamont. She was a wonderful Christian who lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was the patient of a fine Christian doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. Ethel was his favorite patient...")
  • A Bunny Story

    Author Unknown
    Humorous joke for Easter
  • Seeing Jesus Through a Veil of Tears

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis)
  • Easter Grass

    by Sheree Fuchs
    ("I was a single mom with five kids. Easter was one day away, and I had yet to fill the Easter basket for my children. I only had one that they could share. So I got the eggs, and some small goodies, and then I remembered. Easter grass! I don't have any! So I ran to the store on the Saturday before Easter, and they are all out...")
  • Easter

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Recently 60 Minutes featured a story about the parents of Amy Beale, a young American woman who went to South Africa to study and work with the poor, and who was brutally murdered by two young black men during the period of disruption that preceded the fall of the apartheid regime..." and several other illustrations)
  • He Is Risen!

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("During the dark days of World War II, amid the horrors that were being perpetrated by the Nazi regime, there were … pinpoints of light and nobility. One such source of noble light was a German soldier, Private Joseph Schultz. Sent to Yugoslavia shortly after the invasion, Schultz was a loyal young German soldier, filled with what he had perceived to be an ideal worthy of his dedication..." and several other illustrations)
  • He Is Risen!

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One of the many inspiring stories coming out of the Armenian tragedy is the account of a certain father. When the earthquake struck his village, this man raced to the school where his son was a student. There was no school building in sight, only a shapeless heap of rubble..." and several other illustrations)
  • Jesus Rises!

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns...")
  • The Resurrection

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Tony Campolo tells of the wonderful example his father-in-law, Pastor Robert Davidson, provided for him while he was dying. Pastor Davidson had been slowly deteriorating in mind and body for many years. It hurt to see such a great man becoming diminished by time and age..." and several other illustrations)
  • Are You Jesus?

    by Sil Galvan
    Several years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday's supper. One thing led to another and the meeting ran overtime so the men had to race to the airport, tickets in hand. As they barged through the terminal, one man inadvertently kicked over a table supporting a basket of apples. Without stopping they all reached the plane in time and boarded it with a sigh of relief. All but one.
  • An Easter Story

    by Sil Galvan
    Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's Elementary School. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. Although there were times when he spoke clearly and distinctly, most of the time he would just squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.
  • Jesus "Went First"

    by Sil Galvan
    No one need fear death; for our Savior himself has died and set us free. He confronted death in his own person, and blasted it to nothing. He made it defunct by the very taste of his flesh. Poor death, where is your sting? Poor hell, where is your triumph? Christ steps out of the tomb and you are reduced to nothing. Christ rises and the angels are wild with delight. Christ rises and life is set free. Christ rises and the graves are emptied of dead. Oh yes, for he broke from the tomb like a flower a beautiful fruit: the first fruit of those already gone. All glory be his, all triumph and power...for ever and ever.
  • God's Mornin' Has Come

    An Illustration
    "He was the only white person buried in a Georgia cemetery reserved exclusively for African-Americans. He had lost his mother when he was just a baby. His father, who never married again, hired a black woman named Mandy to help him raise his son..."
  • Jonathan's Story

    by Nicole Imgrund
    ("Jonathan, a sweet and caring man in his late 30's, was more fortunate than many of the mentally challenged people I met while working at Camp Easter Seal. Still living at home, he was deeply loved and cared for by his mother...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)

    by Bill Loader
  • Easter Sunday (B)

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Easter Sunday (C)

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Exegetical Notes (John 20:1-18)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Easter)

    by Various Authors
    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    and many more!!

Narrative Sermons

  • *Dancing in the Tomb

    by Frank Fisher
  • *Easter Sunday

    by Frank Fisher
    ("'Most of us go to our graves with the music still inside us.' Those are the words my mother always said to me. She would laugh as she spoke those words. Then she'd add, 'But you'll never do that Salome. You were born with your song on your lips.'...")
  • Mary Magdalene

    by Sarah Foulger
  • A Fool's Errand

    by Peter Haynes
  • Practice Resurrection

    by Deon Johnson
    Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark…things happen early in the morning. Mornings are mystical and sacred, the earth rises from its slumber to greet the coming day, but this morning did not feel mystical, this morning did not feel sacred. Mary Magdalene did not want to get out of bed but the orange glow in the east was spreading across the sky. The day’s doings were calling. Sitting on her bed Mary said the customary prayer...
  • *Embracing the Resurrection

    Drama by James McCrea
  • *Welcome to the Resurrection

    by Pamela Tinnin
    ("Years ago they called me Mary Magdelene, but now I am just Old Mary, the story teller. It is a good disguise—who is threatened by an old woman who tells tales? I keep to myself, travel the back roads, and no one the wiser...")
  • Easter Morning

    by Walter Wangerin
    Early Sunday morning, as soon as the Sabbath restrictions were lifted and they could in good conscience travel distances, three women left Bethany for Jerusalem, Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Joanna. Midway around the northern rise of the Mount of Olives, Mary Magdalene stopped and looked at the others. "Did you feel that?" she said. "Did the earth tremble?" Each woman was carrying cloths and a jar in her arms, myrrh in one, frankincense, nard. They meant to anoint the corpse of the Lord with their spices, their final honor to him whom they loved. It was only the third day since he had been buried. "It seemed that the ground moved under my feet," Mary Magdalene said.
  • *Easter Monologue

    by Suanne Williams-Whorl

Illustrated Resources from 2019 and 2020

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  • With Apologies to Dr. Seuss

    by Jim Chern
    Over the last few weeks, as this thing went from social distancing, to pretty much being quarantined or under house arrest, to recognizing that this was going to be a really weird Easter – I mean up until now, the strangest thing in my (soon to be) 21-years of being a priest was snow on Easter – this easily surpasses that . . . well, this A.D.D. brain has gone off in a whole wide variety of thoughts and directions. But one thing that was recurring, that kept coming back to me, was thinking about Dr. Seuss’ character “The Grinch” and the cartoon episode in which the Grinch tried to ‘steal’ Christmas from the Who’s of Whoville. The memories of that cartoon special, with the voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch, kept coming to mind. Fortunately, in our digital age, we don’t have to wait until November for a television network to air it, or even have to drive to Blockbuster to get it to watch it now (for some of my beloved students watching right now, Blockbuster was a video store that you used to have to go drive to and rent movies from on these video cassettes). You can watch the original right now just going online and renting it for $4 on youtube (for some of my beloved students, that’s the non-illegal way to watch things online)...
  • He's Back!

    by Jim Chern
    It was the story everyone was talking about … whether they were following him or not… whether they were interested in what he was about or not… he had been written off and considered finished and just one Sunday changed everything. That Sunday, everyone seemed to be fascinated and intrigued, and they all celebrated the news with great joy and excitement announcing “HE’S BACK.” Of course, I’m talking about Tiger Woods, the Golf Pro, who won his first Majors in 11 years last week when he won the Masters for the fifth time. That’s exactly how it was described on the front page of the NY Post—“HE’S BACK.” I’ll be honest, I hate golf. I am not even a fan of mini-golf. So it’s not like I’m well-versed with the ins and outs of the sport, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who despite that still got drawn in and got to know about Tiger Woods, who has been an international story for some time now...
  • Small Easter

    by Kathy Donley
    Disease, death and the fear of death is occupying a lot of energy these days. There are no sports, no arts and entertainment, no in-person events of any kind to be covered by journalists, and so every day we get reports on what work death has done over-night. In one of those reports a week ago, I learned that three medical residents in New York City have died. Most of you know that our daughter is a medical resident. You might think this news makes me more concerned for her. It doesn’t actually make me more fearful. But it brings the grief very close. I can easily imagine young people, bright, compassionate, committed young adults who have worked hard and delayed gratification to get through college and then med school. Their families have supported them and missed them on holidays when they had to work or study. They reached the milestone of graduation a year or two ago. And what celebrations they had. Now as residents, they were finally getting to do what they’d been trained for, what they had wanted to do for so long. They were just getting started . . . and now their lives are over. Their families lives are shattered. The grief -- I imagine it sharp and cutting like a knife. And simultaneously heavy and dull and suffocating. Their parents must be inconsolable. That sharp pain, that suffocating weight of sorrow, that inconsolability -- all that could also describe Mary Magdalene as she arrives at the tomb...
  • Have Complete Faith in the Resurrection

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    I often think about St. Óscar Romero, the archbishop of El Salvador who was murdered on the Monday of Holy Week in 1980. This, year, this past year he was declared a saint. Shortly before he was shot and killed while he was celebrating Mass, the archbishop had been interviewed by a reporter calling from Mexico. The reporter asked him, "Why don't you flee the country, leave? They're going to kill you." His name was on the death list; everybody knew it. But the archbishop said, "Of course I've been threatened with death many times, but I don't believe in death without resurrection. Even if they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people." He had complete faith in the Resurrection. He went on to say, "As a shepherd I'm obliged by divine mandate to give my life for those I love, that is, for those who may be going to kill me." His faith was so strong, he could still love his murderers. He finally said, "If in fact they kill me, you may tell them right now that I bless and love those who do it."...
  • Sermon Starters (Easter Sunday)(A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    At the Hollywood Presbyterian Church years ago, the pastor was doing a Children’s Sermon on Easter morning. As recounted to me once by the Bible scholar Frederick Dale Bruner, the pastor asked the children, “What do you suppose was the first thing Jesus said to his disciples after he was raised from the dead?” One little boy instantly leapt to his feet, flung his arms out wide, and declared “Ta-Da!!!” But as Bruner observes, funny though this little story is, the truth is that Jesus did not do any grand flourishes of the “Ta-Da” variety when he appeared to people after his resurrection. He did not bust through any front doors to sweep in with razzle-dazzle and proclamations of “I’m BAAACK!” No, he usually crept up from behind. From behind the weeping Mary in John 20. From behind the Emmaus-bound and deeply disillusioned disciples in Luke 24. When in John 21 Jesus puts in one of the very few post-resurrection appearances about which the Bible tells us, he appears as just a stranger on the beach, an unknown figure tending to a little campfire on which he’s cooking fish and biscuits...
  • Sermon Starters (Easter Sunday)(C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Some years ago Tom Long told the story of Mary Ann Bird. Mary Ann had it rough growing up. Born with a cleft palate and a disfigured face, Mary Ann also had lopsided feet and so an ungainly way of walking. Naturally, she was the target of all the school-age cruelty the other children could muster. “Did ya cut your lip?” they’d sneer. “How come you walk like a duck?” Mary Ann lived in a dark world. One year her teacher was Miss Leonard. Miss Leonard was short and round and a little doughty but she shined with kindness. Back in those days teachers were required to administer a kind of homespun hearing test. The teacher would call each student up to her desk, have the student cover first one ear and then the other, and the teacher would whisper something to see if the child could hear. Usually the teacher would say simple things like “The sky is blue” or “You have on new shoes today.” Well, Mary Ann dreaded this test because she was also deaf in one ear and so this test would be yet another chance for her to be singled out for her deficiencies in life. On the day of the test when it came time for her turn, Mary Ann waddled and shuffled forward. She covered up her bad ear first and then, as Miss Leonard leaned in close, Mary Ann heard words that would change her life. Because for Mary Ann’s hearing test, Miss Leonard whispered, “I wish you were my little girl, Mary Ann.” And through those words and in the midst of her personal darkness, Mary Ann heard the voice of Jesus, the voice of love, the voice of grace. And it changed her. Mary Ann grew up to become a teacher herself, and now she shines with kindness and grace for her students. And it started when Mary Ann heard Jesus call her name through the voice of a middle-aged teacher...
  • I Have Seen the Lord!

    by Beth Johnston
    Years ago I discovered a wonderful little desert plant that can “die” and be revived over and over again. It is the Selaginella lepidophylla, otherwise known as the Rose of Jericho. I have had the one you see on the screen for over 20 years. It was mailed to me by an internet friend in a milk carton filled with popcorn. Apparently, where he lives you can buy them just about anywhere - they are a common novelty item. I used to bring it out almost every year, and revive it, but it’s been dormant in the drawer of my antique sewing machine most of my time here. Over the past 30 years, I’ve killed plants with too much sun; with not enough sun, with too much water, with not enough water, and with the trauma of being dumped out on the floor by my cat, but with the Rose of Jericho, you would have to really work at killing it; I haven’t tried a chest freezer! One of the kids in the Sunday school in Wallace called my plant, “a dead donut”. Yesterday, my sister saw it on the kitchen counter and called it a piece of “seaweed”...
  • On Which Side of the Tomb Are We?

    by Nicholas Lang
    Mary was driving home from a business trip in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. She stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got in. Resuming the journey, Mary tried in vain to make small talk with her. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Mary. What’s in the bag?” asked the old woman. Mary looked down at the brown bag and said, “It’s a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.” The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said, “Good trade.”...
  • Outstretched Arms

    by James Liggett
    This morning, I want to say a word about Easter, a word taken from one of the great Eastern images of the mystery of the resurrection, an icon that has been a part of the Christian vision of what the Resurrection is all about since around the year 600. I have been powerfully drawn to this icon lately, and I want to talk about it a bit this morning. Let’s take a look. Remember: icons are about the theological meaning of people and events; they aren’t representative art like we might typically encounter. Icons are never depictions of exactly what happened. They’re pictures of what things mean. So, an icon of the Resurrection doesn’t show what the resurrection might have looked like back then—an icon of the Resurrection shows what it means now...
  • Do Not Hold On to Me!

    by Jeff McVay
    But something is different on this day. Something that Mary has not yet fully realized. Jesus was not resuscitated, he was resurrected! Resuscitation would mean he had come back to his old life; that he was alive and would die again someday. Resurrection, on the other hand, means that Jesus went all the way through death, all the way through the grave and hell and, by the power of God’s love was now bringing forth something entirely new to our world. He was not brought back to his old life and its patterns, titles and strivings. He was brought all the way through death and into resurrection life that is now available to any who will receive him. Evidently, Mary assumed that he had been brought back to the old way of life. Therefore she was clinging to Jesus in the old ways, the old titles of respect, and the old hopes. So Jesus’ seemingly harsh words to her should not be heard as a slap of rebuke, but as an invitation to join Him in the new reality that God was giving birth to through him. In fact, he invites her to become the first resurrection preacher in the New Testament as she is to go and proclaim this wonderful news to the disciples (which again shows the old patterns are transformed in this new resurrection life that Jesus is offering)...
  • Easter as Opening the Doors of Hell

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Some years ago a young woman I knew, a university student, fell into a severe depression and attempted suicide. Her family, startled by what had happened, rallied around her. They brought her home and for the next few months tried to provide her with all the best that medicine, psychiatry, the church, and human love could offer. They tried everything, but they couldn’t penetrate the dark hole into which she had descended. Four months later she killed herself. She had descended into a private hell into which nothing on this side of eternity could any longer enter. She was powerless to open up her own soul for help. I suspect that many of the reasons for her depression were not her fault. She didn’t will herself into that paralysis, circumstance, wound, and bad health put her there. All of us know similar stories. What’s to be said about this? Does our faith have any answers? There is a particular line in the Apostles’ Creed which is deeply rooted in the Gospels that does throw light, major light, on this issue. It’s the phrase: He descended to the dead. Or, in some versions: He descended into hell...

    (The homily that the author mentions in this article can be found here.)

  • We Shall Be Different

    by James Schall, SJ
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn told a sceptical Harvard Graduating Class in 1978: “If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. . . .It has to be the fulfilment of a permanent, earnest duty, so that one’s life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being.” The exiled Russian writer did not tell these American students of the haunting Easter Mass of Orthodox Russia, nor of his letter to the Moscow Patriarch about that cleric’s negligence in not insisting that Russian families and students learn and keep their Christian heritage. Significantly, however, he did hint to them that what was important in the end was whether we as particular persons made spiritual progress or not. He did not tell them that their task was to make a “better world,” but to make better persons in whatever world they found themselves...
  • Something to Hold Onto

    by Carl Wilton
    We need to consider more carefully what John means by“saw.” There are three different Greek words in this passage meaning “to see” — but you’d never know that from the English translation. The first one John uses to describe the response of both Mary Magdalene and the beloved disciple. Mary sees the stone rolled away, and the beloved disciple sees the linen cloths lying there. The Greek word is blepo,the ordinary word for seeing. It’s a brief glance, no different from thousands of things each of us glance at, every day.Then, Peter catches up with them — he’s a little slower on his feet — and actually goes into the tomb. He, too, sees the linen cloths, but this time the word is theoreo. It’s a word you may even recognize, because it’s where our word“theory” comes from.Peter examines this phenomenon of the neatly-folded grave clothes and, like any good scientist or detective, his gaze lasts a little longer. He theorizes about it.He ponders its meaning. That’s the second word for seeing in this passage.Evidently, something sinks in now for John, the beloved disciple. John recalls own his experience by saying he, too, “saw and believed.” There’s yet another Greek word at work: eidon. That word’s translated many different ways into English: “to look,” “to see,” “to experience,” “to perceive,” “to take note.”...

Illustrated Resources from 2018

  • Invitation to a Changed Life

    by Delmer Chilton
    Some years ago, I was traveling east of Atlanta on Interstate 20, headed home from the church for lunch. Suddenly, everything went awry. There was a loud, terrifying sound, and amid a cloud of dust, I saw ahead of me a late-model sedan, spinning through the air. It landed upside down in the ditch. I and a few others stopped as quickly as possible and ran back to the site of the wreck, certain we were going to find a scene of blood, gore and death. When I got to the car, someone in a medical uniform was down in the ditch looking in the window of the car. She turned with a look of total astonishment on her face. “There’s no one there!” No blood, no gore, no body, nothing. We searched up and down the ditch, the berm, the fence—we could not find anything. We came expecting death; we found an empty “tomb.” (Turned out that the car had been sitting empty and abandoned on the side of the road when it was sideswiped by a semi.)...
  • Mary and "Manitude"

    by Jim Eaton
    A man with long legs gets on an airplane. The exit row seats have a bit more leg room and the helpful flight attendant suggests he sit in one of them. He replies, “Those seats don’t recline.” She says, “They do, actually.” He replies, “No they don’t.” She smiles and says, “Why don’t you sit down and explain why you think you know more about this plane than I do?” He just goes off—to a different seat, obviously secure in his rightness, even though in fact he is wrong. That’s manitude. “Manitude” is an attitude that diminishes and deprecates the contributions of women in favor of males, especially higher status males. These are gender-based examples but the same tendency is found in other places, the tendency to value based on gender, class, race or some other category that has nothing to do with competence...
  • Believe and Understand

    by Evan Garner
    Early in the morning, while it was still dark, the phone rang. I didn’t hear it ring. I was seven-years-old and sound asleep in my bed, which was nowhere near the phone. (Sometimes I miss those days.) My mother, who slept by the phone, woke up with a start and answered it. “Hello?” she said, half-wondering who would be calling her so early and half-worried at what that person might want. “Emily, this is Mrs. Malone, your neighbor across the street,” the person on the other end said. “I’m sorry to call you so early, but I just looked outside my window, and I saw a big package sitting on your doorstep. I thought you’d want to go and see what it is.”...My mother, still half-asleep, went to the door to find the package that Mrs. Malone had seen. But, when she got to the door, there was no package. She opened it, walked down the steps, and looked around, but there was nothing. Confused, my mother went back to the phone, and even before she had picked it up and held it to her ear, she could hear Mrs. Malone laughing on the other end. “April fool!” she called out. “Thank you,” my mother said—what else could she have said?—and hung up with Mrs. Malone still laughing...
  • Get Up and Live

    by Chris Girata
    when I heard a story about a pastor who talked one of his members, a heart surgeon, into letting him be present in the operating room during open-heart surgery, I was fascinated. As he tells this story, he was standing in the corner of the operating room as they brought the patient into the room and began this absolutely amazing process - literally opening the person up and repairing their heart, literally fixing the heart. And when the surgery was finished, the surgeon began to gently massage the heart to get it beating again. But this time, the heart didn't start on its own. So, he massaged the heart again, still nothing happened. And it began to dawn on the pastor that he might see his friend, the surgeon, lose his patient, that he might watch this patient, this stranger, die on the table in front of him. Now, the doctors at that moment got a little more aggressive to try and treat the heart to get the heart going and still nothing. Finally, the surgeon knelt down beside his patient and he took off his surgical mask and he said, "Mrs. Johnson, this is your surgeon. The operation went perfectly, your heart has been repaired - now tell your heart to beat again." When he said that, the heart began to beat...
  • I Can’t Wait: Embracing the Easter Promise

    by Janet Hunt
    I carried the Sacrament of Holy Communion to one of our own the other day. We gathered close around his hospital bed where I prayed with him, with them. I read the Easter story from John’s Gospel for it is so very rich and full of detail. And then I leaned in close to him and said, “The promise is that death does not win. All this suffering and struggle does not win.” And his eyes shone and he broke out in a grin and he said, “I can’t wait!” I can’t wait, indeed...
  • Life and Laughter Invite Us to Be Startled by Easter

    by Rex Hunt
    An article which I still go to often, and has in it echos to both April Fool’s Day and Easter, is Harvard Divinity School theologian Harvey Cox’s ‘God’s Last Laugh’. Published more that 30 years ago, one paragraph stands out: “On the Christian calendar Easter is a feast of gladness. Grief turns into jubilation. Bitter defeat becomes exuberant hope. Even those who walk in the valley of the shadow of death know they need fear no evil. But, without a trace of irreverence, can we not also say there is something genuinely comic about Easter? Could it be God’s hilarious answer to those who sported and derided God’s prophet, who blindfolded and buffeted him, and who continue to hound and deprive God’s children today?”...
  • Love Is Risen! Love Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

    by Dawn Hutchings
    A new pastor was visiting in the homes of her parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote ‘Revelation 3:20’ on the back of it and stuck it in the door. When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, ‘Genesis 3:10…’ Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter…Revelation 3:20 begins: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.’ Genesis 3:10 reads, ‘I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.’...
  • The Dead Christ Supported by Angels

    Images for Worship from Victoria Jones
    A type of “Man of Sorrows” image, the Dead Christ Supported by Angels is a devotional trope originating in the late Middle Ages. It typically shows a naked, half-length Christ standing up in a sarcophagus, his wounds prominently displayed so as to invite meditation on his suffering. One or more angels tend to him—they may embrace him, mourn his passing, unwrap his burial shroud (to give viewers a better look), display instruments of the passion, keep him propped up in the tomb, or, as we will see below, prepare to welcome him back to life...
  • Christ's Resurrection Reveals the Dignity and Destiny of Humankind

    by Terrance Klein
    Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man embodies a moment when art and science combined to allow mortal minds to probe timeless questions about who we are and how we fit into the grand order of the universe. It also symbolizes an ideal of humanism that celebrates the dignity, value, and rational agency of humans as individuals. Inside the square and the circle we can see the essence of Leonardo da Vinci, and the essence of ourselves, standing naked at the intersection of the earthly and the cosmic...
  • Where Is Jesus? Hiding in Plain Sight!

    by R. Dale McAbee
    “Where’s Waldo” is an immensely popular series of children’s books. Each volume since 1986 offers a dazzling visual puzzle with tons of people, buildings, and even mythical beasts. In the midst of all that complexity is Waldo, a simple little boy, looking a bit like Harry Potter, who is always wearing his red and white striped sweater and glasses. Last May a thirtieth anniversary edition came out and to date more than 60 million books have been sold. In all the Easter stories from the four gospels, indeed, in the entirety of each gospel from beginning to end, it seems to me the main concern is to answer the question, “Where’s Jesus?”...
  • Easter: What Jesus Did

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    We can talk about what Jesus did: conquering sin and death, redeeming humanity, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Mexican muralist Jesse Clemente Orozco gives a different image of what Christ did through his death and resurrection (though not necessarily on Easter morning) in the work shown here.
  • My First Ordained Easter

    by Larry Patten
    The clergy—me beside them, pretending to know what I was doing—prepared to process into the sanctuary. And that’s when I whispered words that may have shaped the rest of my ministry (though I didn’t know it then) because of the senior pastor’s response. I muttered something like, “Look at these hypocrites, showing up once a year for worship.” So young and cynical! So young, confidently judging others! The senior pastor glanced my way, whispering, wondering, “How often does your entire family get together, Larry? This is a homecoming. It’s a reunion. I’m glad everyone is here.” I won’t say all my judgments ceased and I immediately saw the errors of my youthful insouciance. But how right he was!...
  • Easter Fools

    by David Russell
    One of the best media-generated April fools’ jokes dates from many years ago. It was a news report that aired on BBC. It opened with a line about Spring coming early that year, prompting the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland to come early, too. Against a video backdrop of happy women harvesting spaghetti from trees, claims about the cultivation of spaghetti were made in a serious and straightfaced manner. Spaghetti’s uniform length was explained as the result of years of painstaking cultivation. The ravenous spaghetti weevil, which had wreaked havoc with harvests of years past, had been conquered, said the report. Afterwards, the BBC switchboard lit up with calls about the piece. Many people asked where they could go to watch the harvesting operation in person. Others wondered whether spaghetti would grow well in Britain, and could they buy spaghetti trees for themselves?...
  • The Easter Effect and How It Changed the World

    by George Weigel
    How did a ragtag band of nobodies from the far edges of the Mediterranean world become such a dominant force in just two and a half centuries? The historical sociology of this extraordinary phenomenon has been explored by Rodney Stark of Baylor University, who argues that Christianity modeled a nobler way of life than what was on offer elsewhere in the rather brutal society of the day. In Christianity, women were respected as they weren’t in classical culture and played a critical role in bringing men to the faith and attracting converts. In an age of plagues, the readiness of Christians to care for all the sick, not just their own, was a factor, as was the impressive witness to faith of countless martyrs. Christianity also grew from within because Christians had larger families, a byproduct of their faith’s prohibition of contraception, abortion and infanticide...

Illustrated Resources from 2017

  • Is God Coming Back to Life?

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Each and every time you or I embody LOVE, Christ lives in the world. Resurrection is the embodiment of Christ or LOVE or God, or however you want to express the Force that lies at the very heart of reality. The LOVE that is God is beyond our ability to imagine or express, but that LOVE lives in, with, through, and beyond us. Death does not have the final word. No matter how many times this cruel world tries to destroy LOVE. LOVE will live again, in, with, through and beyond all of those who embody LOVE.
  • Jesus’ Resurrection is Extraordinary Precisely Because Any Thing At All Made It Out of That Bloody Tomb!

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Years ago, long before I ever became a pastor, I had a friend who was nearing the end of her life. During my last few visits with her, Clara would ask me over and over again, “Am I going to be alright?” I would always answer her with words designed to assure her that all would be well. Unlike some people I have known since, Clara never asked me what was going to happen to her when she died, just, “Am I going to be alright?” At the time, I thought that she was worried about the pain she might encounter or the fear that she might feel. So, I would assure her that the care that she was getting was the best there is and that the doctors and nurses would make sure that she could manage whatever pain came her way.
  • The Gospel's Easter Promise: Love Will Win Out Over Sin and Death

    by Terrance Klein
    sin can turn the law into a curse rather than a cure for evil. That is certainly true in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939), where the poor are driven off the land, quite legally and utterly without mercy. The intention of law is to give life, but, in this American classic, it becomes so oppressive, such an instrument of evil, that the impoverished Joad family must break the law to live, must defy it even to die with dignity. Twelve members of the Joad family, along with the Rev. Jim Casy (does that number strike anyone as significant?) pile into one woebegone truck, headed west. Grandpa Joad prattles about the California grapes, which he will soon crush over his head, yet he dies before they reach the Oklahoma border.
  • Resurrection: What It Means to Me

    by Nicholas Lang
    An adult study group in a church was in deep discussion about difficult Christian beliefs. Someone brought up the struggle in believing in the resurrection of Jesus. They found this a farfetched possibility. “Life from death?” he asked, “How can that be credible?” A woman in the group spoke up, “Well, I do believe in the resurrection. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. When my husband walked out on me, I could have died. I did die. My life was over. Dead end. But then, by the grace of God, with the support of a wonderful church community and the coaxing of good friends, I came back. I came to life. I got a whole new life. I believe in the resurrection because I have lived it.”
  • Unimaginable

    by David Lloyd
    In the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton brings disaster upon his family. He has an affair, and the woman’s husband extorts money from Hamilton in exchange for his silence. Then when the receipts of his hush money are used to accuse Hamilton of embezzling Treasury funds, Hamilton publically admits to the affair and the extortion. As a result, his Presidential aspirations are crushed and his wife justifiably rejects him. As he tries to defend Alexander’s honor, their son Philip is challenged to a duel. Alexander coaches his son in how to satisfy honor and survive, but in the duel Philip is killed. Alexander and his wife are torn apart with grief. Alexander’s sister-in-law Angelica sings: There are moments that the words don't reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can Then push away the unimaginable The moments when you're in so deep Feels easier to just swim down And so they move uptown And learn to live with the unimaginable
  • Named and Claimed

    by J. Michael Lowry
    Focused on her grief, Mary teeters on the edge of faith. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Then the full impact of the gospel hits. “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ ” In the naming, she is claimed by the Lord. Christ’s triumph becomes her destiny! Our morning begins in a graveyard. It ends in a shout. “I have seen the Lord.”
  • Easter Sunday

    by Kate Matthews
    I remembering watching the Robert Altman film, "Nashville." One of the characters, a country-western singer, was in the hospital and quite frail, emotionally and mentally as well as physically. In one scene, she sat in a wheelchair in the chapel and softly sang a hymn I'd never heard before: ...."and he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own...." As she sang about the risen Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene in the garden, it felt to me like she was also telling her own story of feeling close to Jesus, like a lost lamb being gathered up by her Good Shepherd and taken back to the flock.
  • We Are a Resurrection People

    by Jim McCrea
    Some years ago, Alexander Sanders, the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony for the University of South Carolina, both because of his prestigious position and because his daughter was one of the graduating seniors.
    During that speech, he told a true story about a time when his daughter was little. He said “One time when Zoe was three years old. I came home from work to find a crisis in [the house], Zoe’s pet turtle had died. And she was crying as if her heart would break.
    “Her mother, having coped with the problems of the home all day, turned that one over to me to solve. At the time, I was practicing law and serving in the Legislature. Frankly, it was a problem a lawyer politician was not up to solving. The mysteries of life and death are difficult, if not impossible for the mature mind to fathom. The task of explaining them to a three-year-old was completely beyond either my confidence or experience. But I tried.
  • Marking Time Until Easter

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
  • How to Be an Evangelist

    by Sara Miles
    Mary Magdalene went on to proclaim the good news of her living Lord everywhere, preaching the Word in palaces and villages throughout the pagan world, until around 72 AD she finally died in Gaul, where that little piece of bone I kissed is said to have been found. According to one story, Mary Magdalene once brought an egg, symbolizing new life, to the Roman emperor Tiberius and told him about Jesus. “A person can no more rise from the dead,” said the emperor, impatiently, “than that egg can turn red.” The egg turned red in Mary’s hand. “Christ is risen,” she said. So let us witness with her. To be an evangelist, you don’t have to be the right kind of person. You don’t have to know the right answers. You just have to hear Mary Magdalene, the first apostle, who’s still telling the rest of us disciples not to be afraid. Who is calling us to look into the tomb, talk to the gardener, and run to share the good news of Easter, always: Christ is risen!
  • Easter Sunday (A)

    from Sacra Conversazione
    Walter Brueggemann writes at the conclusion of Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism (pp 129-130): “At base, biblical faith is the assertion that God has overcome all that threatens to cheapen, enslave, or fragment our common life. Because the power of death is so resilient, this triumph of God is endlessly reiterated, reenacted, and replicated in new formats and venues. As a result of that always new victory, we are left to do our most imaginative proclamation and most courageous appropriation.” We have heard the announcement of Mary Magdalene and others; what are we going to do with it; now, what are we going to do about it?
  • Resurrection of the Lord

    by Ayanna Johnson Watkins
    Singer LeAnn Rimes recently described her album Remnants as her experience of learning the value of falling apart. She said that the first time we encounter something that threatens to really knock us back, our tendency is to fight to keep standing. We think this is victory, this is grieving well. But Rimes has learned to give in to falling apart—and discovering the beauty in it. When you crumble, she says, you’re able to assess the pieces and preserve the remnant that is authentically you. From those authentic pieces, you can be remade anew.
  • The Glory of the Lighted Mind

    by Katerina Whitley
    There is a stunning scene in a play called “the King Comes to His Own.” The playwright, Dorothy L Sayers, makes it clear that Jesus had left the tomb before the stone was rolled away from its opening. The molecules of the transformed body reassemble themselves outside the tomb taking the form of a person. The two guards who are warming themselves by the fire a few feet away, feel this natural (electrical) disturbance as an earthquake. They don’t see anyone, but the flame of their fire flattens as someone walks over it. By the time the body passes the fire, It has already solidified. This is how the guards describe it to the elders:...

Illustrated Resources from 2015 and 2016

  • Disciple Makers (Week 1)

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A journalist decided to track down survivors of suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He asked them what was going in their minds during the four seconds of that fall. All of them responded that they regretted the decision to jump, one saying 'I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable, except for having just jumped.' That man, Kenneth Baldwin, is still alive - 30 years after the suicide attempt...")
  • The Greatest Gift

    by Phil Bloom
    How does the resurrection bring mercy and forgiveness? One of the best illustrations comes from a university professor named Dr. Phillip Cary: The story begins with a tragedy: a girl pushes her brother down a stairs. To her horror, the fall causes him to break his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. She did not intend to paralyze him, but that was the result of her malicious action. All day and all night she is thinking about what she has done.
  • Google Wants You to Live Forever (Jesus Already Beat Them To It)

    by Jim Chern
    It’s hard to deny: Google is a dominating presence. So seeing the cover of a business magazine with the cover headline"Google wants you to live forever" not too long ago, you couldn’t help but wonder if there’s some consumer angle or catch to it – was this just a provocative headline to get us to hear how Google wants customers to live longer to buy more stuff that they produce? But reading it, you realized it’s a lot more than some business or marketing angle. In fact, they’re quite serious. The story was about the president and managing partner of Google Ventures, a man by the name of Bill Maris.
  • No, Wait! He's Up!

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("When I was in elementary school one of my favorite programs was what my brother and I called 'The Wrestling Show'. Whenever it was on, we parked ourselves on the floor as close as possible to the television set to cheer on our heroes Johnny Weaver and George Becker as they battled the evil Rip Hawk and Swede Hansen...")
  • A Holy Footrace: Peter and John and You and Me and the Empty Tomb

    by Janet Hunt
    ("A cemetery outside of Chicago had been desecrated for profit. Bodies had been dug up and put in unmarked graves so that the plots could be resold. Anyone who heard the story was sickened by it. Punishment was swift and severe, for now as always, it goes against all we hold dear to so disrespect what is left behind of those we have loved. And so it is we surely understand Mary Magdalene's reaction when she reached the tomb that early Sunday morning...")
  • Beside Still Waters

    by Terrance Klein
    Tennessee Williams once offered what might be called a parable of the resurrection. In "The Night of the Iguana," a failed cleric meets an impoverished artist in a rundown corner of Mexico. The Reverend Shannon, as he himself explains, has “been inactive in the Church for all but one year since I was ordained a minister of the Church.” He was undone by his unorthodox views and his sexual appetite: “fornication and heresy in the same week.” He’s banished himself to booze and broads. He’s a tour bus guide, who still hopes to return to his calling. Hannah paints watercolors and is a “quick sketch” artist, who, as she admits, tends to flatter her subjects to provide for herself and her grandfather, a once great, but now penniless, poet.
  • The Rest Is Not Silence

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Pope Francis has a particular devotion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She's his go-to saint under stress. 'When I have a problem I ask the saint, not to solve it, but to take it in her hands and accept it. And as a sign, I almost always receive a white rose.' In The Great Reformer, his biographer Austen Ivereigh writes: Stefania Falasca recalls Bergoglio telling her in Rome that 'one time, when he had to make an important decision about a complex matter, he left it in her hands...")
  • Called by Name

    by Anne Le Bas
    And Mary's good news is good news for the rest of us too, because who are we? A random bunch of people, probably feeling a lot of the time that we don’t have much to offer either, and that our lives can’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. “Not so”, says Mary, “because if Jesus called my name when he rose, then surely he also called yours.”
  • Give Up Death

    by David Russell
    ("Tom Long tells the story of Clint Tidwell, the pastor of a small-town church. One of his blessings – and curses – is that the 80-year old owner and still active editor of the local newspaper is a member of his congregation. The blessing part is that this veteran journalist considers Tidwell to be one of the finest preachers around, and wishing the whole town to benefit from his wisdom, he frequently publishes a summary of the Sunday sermon in the Monday newspaper..." and other illustrations)
  • Who Gonna' Roll That Stone?

    by Ken Sehested
    The circus was coming to town. Before each stop on their travels, an advance team would show up first to do promotion and advertising. One person in that advance team was a high-wire acrobat. A wire was strung fronm one tall building to another. All the media was alerted: “Come see this death-defying act!” It always guaranteed a lot of free publicity for the big tent that would soon arrive, with its elephants and clowns and cotton-candy and sometimes lions and tigers, too.
  • But the Tomb Was Empty

    by Bob Stuhlmann
    ("There's an old story about a Sunday school class that was learning about the Resurrection. Among the children in the class was David, a boy of about seven who had Down syndrome. The teacher had gathered a number of Legg containers, the egg shaped plastic containers that held nylon stretch leggings for women. The teacher asked the class, 'now children take this container and gather some sign of new life'...")
  • What If It's True?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("We may know nothing about George Frederic Handel, but we know the Messiah. Oh, we may be aware that most of the pieces Handel composed expressly for Christian worship no choir ever sings and no congregation ever hears. But we know the Messiah...")

Illustrated Resources from 2013 and 2014

  • He Is Risen!

    by Machrina L. Blasdell
    A number of comics that appear in the newspaper around Easter time can be expected to touch on themes of Holy Week and Easter. A “Wizard of Id” strip from 2001 was cleverly on target. The squatty little king comes upon a church with a sign out front proclaiming “Good Friday.” He says to the priest: “Lemme get this straight … God comes to earth as one of us … and we kill him?” The priest says, “That’s right.” The king says, “Your Lord is dead! … There’s a big earthquake, and the curtain in the temple is torn from top to bottom!” “Right again,” says the priest. The king: “What the heck is so good about that?” Whereupon the priest says, with his hands clasped in front of him and a big smile on his face: “His curtain call.”...
  • Peter's Joy

    by Phil Bloom
    ("The Catholic writer, Patricia Livingston, relates a family story that illustrates the need for joy. After her son return from the Gulf War, he would explode unexpectedly 'filling the house with furious darkness'. One day he surprised Patricia by saying, 'I gotta stop this, Mom. It's just the devil trying to steal my joy.'...")
  • Easter Sunday

    by Brendan Byrne
    ("In a novel entitled In Search of Lost Time by the great French writer Marcel Proust, the narrator experiences a series of events which operate on his unconscious mind in such a way as to make his past come alive; and not just as a memory, but with all the emotional power and force of a lived experience. This experience is real and yet not real; it lies outside time, neither past nor present but a fusion of both...")
  • Deeper Magic Before the Dawn of Time

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("by death Jesus conquered death. C.S. Lewis called this the 'deeper magic before the dawn of time'. This deeper magic, says Mark Heim, 'comes into this [Narnia] story as an unexpected development, something about which the evil powers knew nothing. And when Aslan rises, the ancient stone altar on which the sacrifice was offered cracks and crumbles in pieces, never to be used again...")
  • The God Who Forgets

    by Tom Cox
    ("God, whose every way is perfect, Said in justice and in grace That our sins He'll not remember, And our fears He will erase...")
  • Resurrection WIthout Supernaturalism

    by Bruce Epperly
    ("We can never fully encompass Jesus' resurrection, but we can find a clue in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. As the tale goes, in order to save Edmund, the lion-savior Aslan must sacrifice his own life. The White Witch, however, is unaware of the laws of Deeper Magic, which promise resurrection to the innocent victim. Aslan rises and the White Witch and her minions are defeated")
  • Ta Da! Jesus Is Alive!

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("It was time for the kids talk on Easter morning. One little boy was so excited about Easter that he couldn't hold back and before the pastor could start his talk, loudly said, 'Do you know what the first words Jesus said when he came out of the tomb on Easter morning?'...")
  • Once We Really Believe in Jesus, We Share in His Risen Life

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    ("a very wealthy person, some years ago, felt his life was meaningless. He was making all kinds of money, but there was no real purpose in his life. He wasn't experiencing joy. Every day, he lived in a rich suburban area but traveled into the city by train. As he was leaving and heading home through the train station, he saw a woman there, homeless, begging, and he at first just passed her by, but then he stopped one time to talk to her. He discovered she was desperately in need and mentally ill...")
  • Easter Rising

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("Tony Kushner, who wrote the script for the movie Lincoln, also wrote a play called Angels in America, with an old woman quite like the Russian Easter Mary. In the play Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz speaks about her journey from Russia through the Holocaust, with great reverence. 'She was not a person but a whole kind of person, the ones who crossed the ocean. She carried the old world on her back, in a boat, and she put it down in Flatbush...")
  • Easter Vision

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose book One Hundred Years of Solitude introduced the west to the magical/realism thinking of Latin America, in which physical reality and spiritual experience intermingle in ordinary days, said in an interview in The Paris Review, 'It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there's not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.'...")
  • Seeing the Resurrection

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Hugo of St. Victor used to say: Love is the eye! When we look at anything through the eyes of love, we see correctly, understand, and properly appropriate its mystery. The reverse is also true. When we look at anything through eyes that are jaded, cynical, jealous, or bitter, we will not see correctly, will not understand, and will not properly appropriate its mystery...")
  • Easter Sunday

    by Mary Frances Schjonberg
    ("Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.'...")
  • While It Was Still Dark

    by William Self
    ("I like the words of Flannery O'Connor in A Good Man is Hard to Find. She has her character say, 'He thrown everything off balance. If he did what he say he did, there's nothing for you to do but to throw away everything and follow him. If he didn't, then enjoy the minutes you have left the best you can.'...")
  • What If It's True?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("We may know nothing about George Frederic Handel, but we know the 'Messiah'. ...")
  • Rejoice! Our Work Is Just Begun!

    by Brian Volck
    ("Like Hazel Motes in Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood, most of us shout to the world through our attitudes and actions – if not necessarily with words – that, 'I'm a member and preacher to that church where the blind don't see and the lame don't walk and what's dead stays that way.'...")

Illustrated Resources from 2011 and 2012

  • A New Beginning

    by Phil Bloom
    ["Henri Barbusse (1874-1935) tells of a conversation overheard in a dugout full of wounded men during the First World War. One of them who knows he has only moments to live says to another man, 'Listen, Dominic, you've led a bad life. Everywhere you are wanted by the police..."]
  • *A Risen People

    by Tom Cox
    ("In the darkness of despair, we saw a vision. We lit the light of hope and it was not extinguished. In the desert of discouragement, we saw a vision. We planted a tree of valour and it blossomed. In the winter of bondage we saw a vision...")
  • While It Was Still Dark

    by Kathy Donley
    One time she took a good friend on a lecture trip with her to Utah. This friend was sick and actually dying. The trip was the week after Easter. Anne Lamott wrote, "She ought to have one more Easter. Easter is so profound." So the two friends recreated Holy Week, a week later. On Thursday they had communion, using Coca Cola for wine and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for the bread broken in remembrance of him. They washed each other’s feet. They celebrated Good Friday, "a sad day of loss and cruelty when all you have to go on is faith that light shines in the darkness and nothing, not death, not disease, not even the government, can overcome it." She writes for all of us, "I hate it that you can’t prove the beliefs of my faith. If I were God, I’d have the answers at the end of the workbook, so you could check as you went along, to see if you’re on the right track. But noooo—Darkness is our context, Easter’s context; without it you couldn’t see the light. Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak [stuff] anyone can throw at us"...
  • Beyond Bunnies and Jelly Beans

    by Pam Driesell
    ("Easter is about the power of life! The power that makes $5 worth of elements priceless. Easter is the power that gave you that pulse, calling you by name and promising you that long after your pulse stop beating, that power will go on. It's called eternal life...")
  • Practice Resurrection

    by Carl Gregg
    ("Clarence Jordan, one of my heroes and a twentieth-century Christian saint, said, 'The proof that God raised Jesus from the dead is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of his transformed disciples. The crowning evidence that he lives is not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church.'...")
  • The Rising

    by George Hermanson
    ("Silence. Nothingness in the darkness Silence, waiting to be broken. Yearning, reaching out, touching a note a beat a sound and the vast heavenly hosts stood still as the rising comes not yet spoken breaking, calling, luring a sense of wonder rising Rising out of the earth In the garden of the rising sky...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("John tells the Easter story very straight-forwardly with no embellishments and hyped details thrown in just for effect. Sometimes you can detect it when stories have been embellished with false details. President Ronald Reagan, for instance, moved lots of audiences to tears by telling a World War II story about two heroic fighter pilots who were killed after their plane had been badly shot up by the Japanese...")
  • Easter

    by Richard Johnson
    ("Nancy Green writes the terrible story of her sister-in-law, Helen, who suffered for many years with schizophrenia. The family first became aware of this illness when Helen began to show signs of paranoia: 'They know everything I do . . . They listen to me . . . They have cars following me'. Over the next years, Helen became almost incapacitated...")
  • Easter: Like Dills Doing Time

    by Terrance Klein
    ("There was one Fall, however, when Grandma was disappointed in her dills. I remember the supper when she told everyone that several of her Kerr jars contained unexplainedly spoiled pickles. That had never, ever, happened before! I piped up, 'They were fine when we ate them in the root cellar last summer.'...")
  • *Love Busts Us Out

    by Paul Larsen
    ("In 1993 Mary Johnson attended sentencing of Marlon Green, who had shot and killed her only son, Laramuin, at a house party. Just days before, she had stumbled across a poem that helped shape her life. The poem was an imagined conversation between Mary, the mother of Jesus and the Mother of Judas Iscariot as they talked about the pain of losing their son..." and other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Ours the Cross, the Grave, the Skies

    by Rebecca Lyman
    ("Walt Whitman could have written this poem about seeing and believing on Easter morning: 'Of the terrible doubt of appearances, Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded, That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all, That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only...")
  • *You Can't Keep a Dead Man Down

    by James McCrea
    ("Kathy Donley tells of a friend whose husband indulged in a three-martini lunch one day. Then he climbed into his car and caused an accident which left a young woman seriously injured and hospitalized for months on end. The husband's guilt built and built over the course of the next several months, leading him into a spiral of massive depression...")
  • Struggling Out of the Valley of Shadows

    by Edgar Moore
    ("I came across a box filled with cards and letters I'd received when leaving a congregation to move on to the next appointment. Then there was one that was very different. It was handwritten, came in a basic, white envelope, from a 30-something young woman, highly educated, and it began like this: 'Dear Ed, Of all the things for which I need to thank you, first among them is this: You saved my life.'...")
  • The Poetry of Resurrection

    by Debra Dean Murphy
    ("From the far star points of his pinned extremities, cold inched in – black ice and squid ink - till the hung flesh was empty. Lonely in that void even for pain, he missed his splintered feet, the human stare buried in his face. He ached for two hands made of meat he could reach to the end of...")
  • Easter

    by Dorothy Okray
    ("It was June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the allied forces of the British, Dutch, and Germans under the command of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of signals to find out how the battle was going...")

    (Hold the left hand button on your mouse and drag over the text to highlight it.)

  • Does the Resurrection Contradict Science?

    by Matt Rossano
    ("in his recent book on the last days of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Pope Benedict XVI argues that reckoning Resurrection as resuscitation of a corpse is to misunderstand its true significance. Jesus' Resurrection, he contends, was an utterly singular event, straining the very limits of human understanding...")
  • Falling Out of the Sky

    by Todd Weir
    ("Dad was not overtly very religious, but he knew much about the reality of death because he was a pilot. He wasn’t just any pilot, he was a crop duster and a flight instructor, two occupations that seem very dangerous to me. Let me explain what a crop duster does. Imagine a bi-wing yellow and grey airplane, like one you might see at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome from the World War I era...")
  • Eostre

    from Wikipedia
    (some history of pagan Easter)

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

  • Called by Name

    by John Bedingfield
    A priest, a Pentecostal preacher, and a rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of a university. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop. One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and, as men will do, they decided to each go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it. Seven days later, they all came together to discuss their experiences. Fr. Flannery, had his arm in a sling, was on crutches, and had various bandages on his body. He went first. "Well," he said, "I went into the woods and when I found a bear, I began to read to him from the Catechism. That bear wanted nothing to do with the Catechism and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The Bishop is coming out next week to confirm him."...
  • Called by Name

    by Amy Butler
    I begin this morning’s Easter meditation with the immortal words of . . . Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin: Why do you think we’re here? Hobbes: ‘Cause we walked here. Calvin: No, I mean, here on earth. Hobbes: ‘Cause earth can support life. Calvin: No, I mean, why do we exist? Hobbes: ‘Cause we were born. Calvin: Forget it.
  • Easter Sunrise

    by Richard Donovan
    Fifteen years ago, Andrea Lee, an American, spent a year studying in Russia, and wrote a book about the experience. At that point, Communism still looked very monolithic and indestructible. After decades of rule in the Soviet Union, Communism could be expected to have eradicated the Christian faith in the Soviet Union. People who had been Christians prior to the Revolution were mostly dead. Young people had been indoctrinated for half a century in atheism. Christianity should have been dead. But Andrea Lee told in her book about the approach of Easter in Russia in 1978. Easter eggs began to appear in vendor's booths. Many were inscribed XB for Kristos Boskres, which means, "Christ has risen." One egg said, "Kristos Boskres, Happy Easter, dear comrades!" The secret police seized some of the eggs as contraband. The Soviets scheduled rock concerts on Easter to keep young people away from the churches. Nevertheless, so many people wanted to worship on Easter that churches had to issue tickets. Now, fifteen years later, even more amazing things are happening. The communists had said, "God is dead." But people from Fort Belvoir have been to Russia, and they have seen that God is alive in Russia—and Communism is dead...
  • Life Beyond Life

    by Heather Entrekin
    On Resurrection Day, Jesus offers life beyond that life. It begins with each one, like Mary, who chooses to follow him into new life. Christian counselor Dennis Linn got a glimpse of that one day when Hilda came to him crying because her son had tried to commit suicide and he was involved in drugs and prostitution and worse. She ended her list of her son's "big sins" with, "What bothers me most is that my son says he wants nothing to do with God. What will happen to him if he dies wanting nothing to do with God?" Linn's image of God had always been like his old Uncle George, strict and vengeful, all about punishment and consequences. So he thought, "God will probably send your son to hell." But he didn't want to tell Hilda that so instead he asked, "What do you think?" "Well," she replied, "I think that when you die, you appear before the judgment seat of God. If you have lived a good life, God will send you to heaven. If you have lived a bad life, God will send you to hell." Sadly, she concluded, "Since my son has lived such a bad life, if he were to die without repenting God would certainly send him to hell." Although Linn agreed with her, he didn't want to say so. So he used another strategy he'd learned in seminary: when you don't know how to solve a theological problem, let God do it...
  • Cultural Resources from the African American Perspective

    by Juan Floyd-Thomas and Rodney Thomas Jr.
    ("During your service show a video clip from the movie The Color Purple where Shug Avery, Swain, and a blues band leave the juke joint that is located deep in the woods in order to walk boldly into the nearby church singing 'God is trying to tell you something.'..." and other suggestions)
  • Easter Sunday

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time, during one of the many wars in which our country has engaged, a bright young man, fresh out of high school enlisted in the air force and entered flight training...")
  • The Rising

    by George Hermanson
    ("Silence. Nothingness in the darkness Silence, waiting to be broken. Yearning, reaching out, touching a note a beat a sound and the vast heavenly hosts stood still as the rising comes not yet spoken breaking, calling, luring a sense of wonder rising Rising out of the earth In the garden of the rising sky...")
  • *Let Go and Go Tell

    by Sharon Jacobsen
    ("A little boy once said that you know when someone loves you because your name is safe in their mouth. In her past, filled with demons, Mary had heard her name spoken many times by those who ridiculed and demeaned her...")
  • *Resurrection Hope

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Kelly Haugh Clem, the pastor of Goshen Church of Piedmont, Alabama, tells a story of tragedy and hope that happened in her life. Hannah, her four year old daughter, was in the Palm Sunday musical the children were preparing. On Palm Sunday morning the sky hung heavy and gray. The air felt strange. The church was jammed with people. As the musical drama began, the rain crashed down...")
  • Easter Sunday (C)(2010)

    by Joseph Pagano
    In Jim Wallis' book, God's Politics, he tells a powerful story about practicing resurrection. He tells a story that took place in South Africa when, to all outward appearances, apartheid still had a strangle-hold on power and Nelson Mandela was still in jail. Wallis was at an ecumenical service at the Cathedral of St. George's where Archbishop Desmond Tutu was presiding, when a group of the notorious South African Security Police broke into the service. Wallis writes: "Tutu stopped preaching and just looked at the intruders as they lined the walls of his cathedral, wielding writing pads and tape recorders. They had already arrested Tutu and other church leaders just a few weeks before and kept them in jail for several days. After meeting their eyes with his in a steely gaze, the church leader acknowledged their power ... but reminded them that he served a higher power than their political authority. Then, in the most extraordinary challenge to political tyranny I have ever witnessed, Archbishop Desmond Tutu told the representatives of South African Apartheid, 'Since you have already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side!'€ He said it with a smile on his face and an enticing warmth in his invitation, but with a clarity and a boldness that took everyone's breath away. The congregation's response was electric. The crowd was literally transformed by the bishop's challenge to power. From a cowering fear of the heavily armed security forces that surrounded the cathedral and greatly outnumbered the band of worshipers, we literally leaped to our feet, shouted the praises of God and began dancing. We danced out of the cathedral to meet the awaiting police and military forces who not knowing what else to do, backed up to provide the space for the people of faith to dance for freedom in the streets of South Africa...
  • *Where I Am with the Resurrection and John 20

    by Fred Rose
    ("Well, here we are. Finally, us---out of nothing! Much more than nothing, I would say. But one day He will suck His breath back in, perhaps, perhaps. Will He swallow all our lies? Will He choke on us? Spit us out?...")
  • Resurrection Biscuits

    by Susan Sparks
    ("I have to tell you, celebrating Easter always makes me think of my grandmother, Ganny, as we called her. Now Ganny lived in a tiny little town in South Carolina; and when we'd go visit, the aroma of all kinds of good things cooking would float through her screen porch and out into the yard to greet us: creamed corn, collard greens and hopefully cornbread...")
  • *An Easter Heart

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    "Easter is all about a four letter word - and Christians are full of it. Or at least we're supposed to be full of it. The four letter word is LIFE..."
  • Believing the Unbelievable

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Glenn Van Ekeren tells abut an experience he had with his son during a family vacation. Matt seemed to misbehave constantly and Glenn was constantly rebuking him. He made in clear to his son that in no uncertain terms he expected improvement in his behavior. Matt tried very hard to live up to his father's standards...")

Illustrated Resources from 2006 and 2007

  • Magdelene Announced It First

    by Robert Allred
    ("Some of you have heard the church story about a Tent Revival song leader who got carried away during the song service and asked everyone to stand up during the next verse if they are ready to go to heaven...")
  • Radical Transformation

    by Mickey Anders
    ("In one of Flannery O'Connor's short stories entitled A Good Man Is Hard To Find, she sketches the character of an escaped convict known as The Misfit. The Misfit is on a crime spree. He accosts a family that is out for a drive and one by one he has one of his two sons take each of them out into the woods and shoot them..." and other illustrations)
  • Garden Variety Mary: For the Love of a Place and a People

    by John Auer
    An Hasidic tale tells of one person asking the other, “Do you love me?” “Yes, I love you very much,” the other responds. To which the first person then asks, “Do you know what causes me pain?” “How can I know what causes you pain?” responds the other. “If you don’t know what causes me pain,” says the first, “how can you then say that you love me?” Jesus is among us as the one in whom God gives such loving attention and creative response to the pain of the world...
  • The Queen and the Easter Story

    by Neil Bishop
    ("Last weekend I watched Stephen Frears' film The Queen, for which Helen Mirren justifiably won an oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. As it was intended to do, the film brought back vivid memories...")
  • I Have Been Baptized

    by Phil Bloom
    ("a girl pushes her brother down a stairs. To her horror, the fall causes him to break his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. She did not intend to paralyze him, but that was the result of her malicious action...")
  • Peering into the Tomb

    by Phil Bloom
    ("The famous journalist Malcolm Muggeridge tells about a similar experience of desolation. He had achieved a certain amount of success as a media personality, was earning an enviable salary and had a good wife and family. At the same time, he experienced a mood of deep depression...")
  • Easter Sunday

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Ronald Reagan, for instance, moved lots of audiences to tears by telling a World War II story about two heroic fighter pilots who were killed after their plane had been badly shot up by the Japanese. The co-pilot's ejector seat jammed and so he couldn't bail out of the plane..." and another illustration)
  • Believing the Believers

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("In her book Practicing Resurrection, Nora Gallagher recalls a conversation with Harriet who told her about sitting in church at the National Cathedral in Washington...")
  • This Is What We Preach

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Three months ago I stood alone in front of my mother's casket at the Thomas Funeral Home in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, a small town near Raleigh where our family moved in 1966. I twisted my neck so that my face would parallel hers. Hot tears streaked down my cheeks, my nose ran, my vision blurred...")
  • Set Free

    by Mary Jane Cornell
    ("Sixteen years ago I stood in a graveyard and wept at my mother's grave. A few days later we returned to the cemetery. This time we took our children. They hadn't been there earlier. They were too young for funerals...")
  • Mary Magdalene

    Poem by A. C. Fisher
    "Encircling her heart and mind, Darkness ravished her peace and Buried her soul in its deep Hell of demon possession. What can demons do but rape The psyche until, bloodied and violent, It rears up as ugly against others As the hell that controls it?..."
  • *Being Afraid

    by Frank Fisher
    ("It's Easter; the happiest day of the Christian year. But what does Easter mean to you? Lowell Striker tells a story about a Sunday School class that speaks about the meaning of Easter. One Sunday late in Lent a Sunday School teacher decided to ask her class what they remembered about Easter..." and another illustration)
  • Easter Sunday

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a terrible fight in a certain family. The father and the mother had slipped into the habit of low level nastiness with one another and were drifting apart. The children, who were teenagers, were routinely snarling at one another and at their parents...")
  • Rolling Away Our Stones

    by Beth Johnston
    You probably don't know the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. During his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. He was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda and was a full member of the Politburo...
  • Reflections: He Is Risen

    Compiled by Richard Kauffman
    "Easter quotations to stir heart and mind..."
  • *Easter Vision

    by Linda Kraft
    ("I want to tell you about Andy. One day as I was reading in my church office the phone rang, and the man on the other end asked to meet with me -- soon. We set up our meeting for the following afternoon, and I didn’t give the matter much thought. I figured maybe this stranger wanted to talk to me about women not being pastors...")
  • *A Great Shout of Freedom

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("We’ve heard a lot about freedom just recently as we’ve marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Perhaps we thought we knew what we were going to hear as we re-visited this story. But in fact there have been challenges and surprises for many of us as we have re-examined the history...")
  • A "No Surprises" Easter

    by David Leininger
    ("A documentary presenting the evidence The Lost Tomb of Jesus, was presented on the Discovery Channel last month. What is giving the piece credibility is the fact that the Executive Producer is James Cameron, the same James Cameron who gave the world Leonardo DiCaprio and Titanic..." and other illustrations)
  • Risen

    by John Manzo
    ("Behind a church in the small town of Flint Hill, Virginia, you will find the grave of a young seminary student named Albert Gallatin Willis who died on October 14, 1864. Albert Willis' story is unusual. Albert Willis served with the famed command of Mosby's Raiders during the Civil War...")
  • Astonished and Astounded

    by Edward Markquart
    ("The first illustration is from November 26th, 1922. It was in Egypt. It was thirty miles up the Nile River. It was at the Valley of the Kings, the glorious archeological ruins of Karnack. It was the center of Egyptian civilization. And there was an archeologist by the name of Howard Carter..." and other illustrations)
  • Why Are You Weeping, Mary?

    by Edward Markquart
    ("For example, when young Jeffery S. was killed by a car so many years ago at age seven, the parents and family grieved for the loss of Jeffery’s potential life: for all the joy that Jeffery would have created. For his friends. For his childhood years, his teenage years, his graduations, wedding, children, grandchildren, for all the joy that Jeffery would have brought to the S. family...")
  • Don't Hold Onto Me!

    by Philip McAlister
    ("When I was ready to propose to my wife-to-be, I decided to do it the old-fashioned way and first ask her for Dad’s blessing, permission, or whatever degree of affirmation he could give me. I stopped by their house and made up an excuse to get him outside away from the rest of her family, so we could talk...")
  • From Acceptance to Transcendence

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("There was a man who had a very bad stutter. He had never spoken a straight sentence. One day he found himself on a bus without any money. Stuck for a way to get out of his predicament he decided to exaggerate his stutter when the conductor came along, in the hope that he would pass him by in exasperation...")
  • Named and Called to Life

    by David Prince
    ("Several years ago a woman who grew up in the Trenton area returned to the town of her childhood after her husband of many years died. She had no children, only some distant relatives. She began attending the church where I was pastor...")
  • Easter Sunday: Of Metal and Mystery

    by James Schmitmeyer
    ("did you ever try to bend the paper clip back in shape? Not possible, is it? Not at this time, but it soon will be. For the first time in history, scientists at the University of Illinois have concocted metals that snap back to 100% of its original shape when heat is applied...")
  • *Mary: a Monologue

    by Connie Schroeder
    ("The birds are still silent The morning star Shines on the horizon Blinking at me as I slip out the door And down the well worn path. The silence just before dawn Envelopes me And it reminds me of the emptiness The deep emptiness in my soul...")
  • Is There Any Hope?

    by William Self
    ("In the early part of World War II, a Navy submarine was stuck on the bottom of the harbor in New York City. It seemed that all was lost. There was no electricity and the oxygen was quickly running out. In one last attempt to rescue the sailors from the steel coffin, the U.S. Navy sent a ship equipped with Navy divers to the spot on the surface, directly above the wounded submarine..." and other illustrations)
  • What About The Da Vinci Code?

    by Martin Singley
    ("Here is a book that is loaded with adventure, mystery, intrigue, secret codes, religion, sex and violence. And I’m talking about the Holy Bible! Then, there’s The Da Vinci Code! More than 45-million hardcover copies sold! Tens of millions of paperbacks. And when the movie is released later this week, we can be sure of one thing: more Americans will personally engage The Da Vinci Code this year than will read the Bible...")
  • Paradise Bursts into the Present

    by James Standiford
    ("Eugene Peterson, in his book Living the Resurrection writes of his early Easter experiences in this way: 'When I was young, I played a trumpet. In Montana where I grew up, Easter always took place just at the edge of winter. I was up at five, five-thirty, or six every Easter morning for a sunrise service..." and another illustration)
  • The Promises of God (Part 6): Free at Last

    by James Standiford
    ("I was recently introduced to William Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily. It is a wonderfully written but very dark, troubling story. It is the very opposite of the resurrection. Emily Grierson tried to hold onto everything the old way. She does not allow anything, anyone, not even herself, to change..." and another quote)
  • Cross Eyed: Triumph

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("Mark was three years old when his pet lizard died. Since it was her grandson's first brush with death, Grandma suggested that Mark and an older boy in the family hold a funeral for the lizard. Grandma explained what a funeral was: a ceremony where you say a prayer, sing a song, and bury your loved one. Grandma even provided a shoe box and a burial place in the backyard..." and other illustrations)
  • Easter: Seeing Is Believing

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("I read a great story about a six-year-old boy named David who was taking a walk one day with his grandmother. They decided to detour through the local graveyard. They stopped to read some of the tombstones and Grandma explained that the first date on the tombstones was the day the person was born and the second date was the day the person died..." and other illustrations)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Victim or Victor?

    by Robert Allred
    ("A Vacation Bible School teacher encouraged a ten year old boy to wash his hands before snack time and the little fellow grumbled that he did not need to. The sweet teacher said, "You had better wash the germs off because Jesus might be watching you...")
  • While It Was Still Dark

    by Robert Allred
    ("If all of this sounds like mumbo jumbo to your ears you might consider the story of two men who worked in a furniture manufacturing plant in North Carolina. One was a carpenter who drove the same type nails into the same place on the same shaped boards as they were fed by an assembly line day after day...")
  • The Seven First Words

    by Mickey Anders
    ("In John Masefield’s drama The Trial of Jesus, there is a striking passage in which the Roman centurion in command of the soldiers of the cross comes back to Pilate to hand in his report of the day’s work. After the report is given, Pilate’s wife beckons to the centurion and begs him to tell how the prisoner died...")
  • Hidden and Sought: Coming Out, Coming Out, Wherever We Are!

    by John Auer
    In a real way in these very moments, Pope John Paul II is offering his death, his dying, to the world. We are seeing it acted out, step by step, and, painful as dying may be, I cannot imagine anyone asking the pope to stop living his life so freely, so fully to the very end. A Vatican reporter puts it this way, using the pope’s given name – “In this last portion of this extraordinary journey, Karol Wojtyla speaks only by showing his body. “The athlete who hiked can run no longer. The hand that wrote can no longer hold the paper. With his body and his silence, Karol Wojtyla may now be writing his most beautiful encyclical. Certainly it is a speech that will reach everyone’s souls.”...
  • The Lord Descended Into Hell

    Author Unknown
    An excellent comparison of New and Old Testament contrasts of the resurrection.
  • Fear Constricts, Love Expands

    by Marjory Zoet Bankson
    ("There is a wonderful story called I Heard the Owl Call My Name about a young priest who is assigned by his bishop to a small Indian village off the coast of British Columbia. It's a story of how they teach him to love at the same time he is learning to accept his own death. When my father was dying of colon cancer, I rented a VCR in order to share the video with him...")
  • Three Questions for Easter

    by Marjory Zoet Bankson
    ("During this Holy Week, I have been dwelling with Sr. Helen Praejean's story Dead Man Walking the book and the movie. She is 'an ordinary person who gets involved in extraordinary events'. One step at a time, she moves from a protected middle-class environment into the middle of violence, brutality and the public debate over capital punishment...")
  • While It Was Still Dark

    by Marjory Zoet Bankson
    ("Bud was a big bear of a man, as brash and bold as Peter might have been among the disciples. Don Russell called him a 'bum for Jesus', because he had been a hobo back in the Depression, hopping freights to work for cash. People sensed that he was unshockable and many came to him for counsel...")
  • The Manifestation of Undefeated Love

    by Nathan Baxter
    ("Diane was every parent's worst fear. By her own account Diane grew up in a good and loving home. There were family outings, birthday celebrations, softball, dance classes and even church. But for some reason Diane never felt quite OK, and somewhere in high school things went awry. There were drugs, stealing, alcohol, staying out late...")
  • Astounding News!

    by Peter J. Blackburn
    ("Marilyn Haverkate expressed it in this poem: It's Friday. Jesus was nailed dead on a cross. ... but Sunday's coming. It's Friday. Mary's crying her eyes out 'cause her baby Jesus is dead. ... but Sunday's coming...")
  • A New Identity

    by Phil Bloom
    ["French writer Henri Barbusse (1874-1935) tells of a conversation overheard in a dugout full of wounded men during the First World War. One of them who knows he has only moments to live says to another man, 'Listen, Dominic, you've led a bad life. Everywhere you are wanted by the police..."]
  • Ready for Combat

    by Phil Bloom
    ("In 1940 a group of archeologist working in Upper Egypt made a spectacular discovery. Tucked away in a monastery they found the text of a document which scholars knew existed, but felt was forever lost. It was an early Easter homily referred to by many Church Fathers...")
  • Transformation

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A man who made a remarkable journey from despair to hope was the famous actor and producer, Mel Gibson. From a very limited perspective like mine, and probably yours as well, it seems like he had very little to complain about...")
  • *Recognizing Jesus

    by Doug Bratt
    ("A couple of weeks ago George Cooper told me a great story about flying to Chicago, in part to visit his family. His family had told George that his brother would meet him at the airport. It didn't, however, tell George was that his brother disguised himself. As a result, when George disembarked his plane, his brother recognized him, but George didn't recognize his brother...")
  • Surprised by God

    by John Buchanan
    ("In the hills just outside Prague, there is a concentration camp built and operated by the Nazis from 1942 till the end of the war. Terezin is its name, and it is unusual because it was built for the express purpose of covering up what the Nazis were actually doing to Jews...")
  • Finding God's Light in the Midst of our Darkness

    by Sarah Buteux
    ("Gates McKibben says that there is only one way to bring faith into your life, 'and that is to love and forgive without hesitation or condition. When you do that, you are engaging in an act of faith of the highest order...")
  • *Song of the Easter Bird

    by John Christianson
    ("About one hundred and fifty miles south of the southeast tip of Australia, lies the island of Tasmania. It is a large island, about half the size of Wisconsin. There are probably many interesting things that could be said about Tasmania, but what interests me the most is the report of the brilliant songs of birds in the rain forest of Southern Tasmania....")
  • *Seed Power

    by Tom Cox
    ("Visitors to a Hamburg graveyard in Germany can see an old grave. Its' occupant did not believe in the resurrection and just to make sure that they did not take part in one, stipulated that the grave slab be chained down by iron. Also chained down unknowingly was the seed of a tree...")
  • *Stranger Than Fiction

    by Tom Cox
    ["To Cohen, Dan & Reuben Solicitors: I refer to my hurried instructions dated 14th Nisan (Good Friday) last. I realise that the Passover Holiday means that you are only catching up on correspondence. So, I instruct you to please ignore my previous letter and regard this communication alone as effective..."]
  • Easter Sunday (C)(2001)

    by Mary G. Durkin
    ("Why is it that this festival, a feast of the resurgence of life, seems to often to lead to the most pompous, the most triumphalist, the most BORING homilies of the year? Perhaps the reason is that homilists are reluctant to cope with the implications of Easter and substitute high flown and empty rhetoric...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)(1999)

    by Mary Durkin
    ("Once upon a time there was a little boy by the name of Brendan. Brendan loved all kinds of stories but he especially liked the children’s versions of Biblical stories. He would tell visitors about the deeds of the Old Testament leaders, sometimes mixing up his facts a bit...")
  • The Empty Tomb

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("The story is told about a smart young college student who announced to a group of friends one day that he would believe nothing that he could not understand. Another student, who lived on a nearby farm turned to him and said: 'As I was driving into campus today, I passed a field in which some sheep were grazing. Do you believe it?'...")
  • What We Believe

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("In Russia a few years ago a railway worker accidentally locked himself in a refrigerator car. Unable to escape or to attract attention, he resigned himself to his fate. As he felt his body becoming numb he took a pencil out of his pocket and recorded the story of his approaching death...")
  • *First Words

    by Andy Fisher
    ("Father Carton was speaking to a group of second graders about the resurrection when one student asked, 'What did Jesus say right after He came out of the grave?' It was a question of great theological importance, but Fr. Carton had to explain, in words suitable to his young audience, that the Gospels do not tell us just what He said...")
  • *A New Location

    by Eric Folkerth
    ("Big Fish is an absolutely wonderful movie. And, since you're a captive audience, I hope I can encourage you to run ---don¹t walk-- to go see it, rent it, or buy your own copy. Big Fish is the story of a man named Edward Bloom, and his son Will. Edward Bloom, if you went by the facts, was a completely unremarkable man who spends most of his life in a completely unremarkable part of the Alabama, doing completely unremarkable things...")
  • Easter Sunday Reflections

    by Ann Fontaine
    ("Once more the northbound Wonder Brings back the goose and crane, Prophetic Sons of Thunder, Apostles of the Rain. In many a battling river The broken gorges boom; Behold, the Mighty Giver Emerges from the tomb!...")
  • Easter Changes Everything

    by Eric Funston
    ("When John Updike writes that the Resurrection of Christ was real,...") (also quotes Frederica Matthewes-Green)
  • Empty Tombs and Cigar Boxes

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("When I was seven years old my father brought home a treasure. It was a hamster. Hamsters were rare then. Something new and foreign. I was the only one I knew who had one. Her name was Jingo and I loved her. Hamsters were still unusual enough that breeders marked them with little cuts on their ear so you could tell where the hamster came from...")
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a young man came home from a prisoner of war camp who had been reported killed in action. His family and his buddies and even his girl friend had mourned him as dead and then more or less got over their grief...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)(2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time, during one of the many wars in which our country has engaged, a bright young man, fresh out of high school enlisted in the air force and entered flight training. He was an intelligent, charming, likeable kid, thoughtful, sensitive, considerate. He qualified as a pilot and went off to the war...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)(1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a young man named Ned went away to college. Ned was a very nice boy, for a boy. His parents and his sisters and little brother thought that he was quite sweet as did most of the young women in his neighborhood...")
  • No Time to Linger

    by Suzanne Guthrie
    ("The Sforza Hours, a 15th-century image by Giovan Pietro Birago, shows Mary Magdalene ascending into heaven. Clad only in her own hair, illustrating her complete dependence upon God, she leaves behind scenes in which she preached the gospel message of hope..." and a poem by St. Anselm)
  • Is This Authentic?

    by Walter Harms
    ("I have this 'thing' about chocolate Easter bunnies. I like my chocolate bunnies to be solid. I don't like to bite the ears off a bunny and discover that I have a lot of nothing together with a little chocolate. Perhaps even worse are marshmallow filled rabbits...")
  • *Dancing at the Tomb

    Poetic Sermon by Sally Harris
  • *Resurrection of Our Lord

    by Roger Haugen
    ("Bishop Raymond Schultz, in his Easter message, speaks of two groups of people he knows. He writes: 'My office is located in the business wing of a shopping mall in downtown Winnipeg, where hundreds of young people come to hang out. Some dress in the clothes typical of the rap musicians they see on TV. Others emulate gang outfits...")
  • A Child's Eye View

    by Peter Haynes
    ("Seeking information, a reporter for the Carroll County Times last year checked out a local elementary school. He didn't visit the library, or talk to the principal. He went straight to the source to find the answer to his question. What does 'resurrection' mean? 'Jesus Christ was a really nice man who said some things that made some people mad, so they put Him to sleep...")
  • Beliefs That Matter: Death and Resurrection

    by Wayne Hilliker
    ("One of the most painful events that I have ever experienced in my pastoral ministry took place when I was a minister in a church in Toronto. I received a call, late one afternoon, from the mother of an 11 year old son. I knew the family well. They were not only parishioners, they were good friends. Their son, Robert, had been given a brand new bike that day and two police officers had just arrived at her home...")
  • Easter: The Unnatural Truth

    by Wayne Hilliker
    ("A few years ago one of the Academy Award winning films was A River Runs Through It. It is an inward-turning story about MacLean's father who was a minister and who developed a life-long passion for fly-fishing. It is also about his two sons who eventually share their father's artistry with a fly-rod...")
  • What Brought You Here?

    by Wayne Hilliker
    Thomas Long is an ordained Presbyterian minister but not a pastor of a congregation. For the past 20 years his ministry has been in theological education. But sometimes he functions as an incognito layperson. One time in his home congregation he was asked to visit some households in a Stewardship campaign and deliver pledgecards on 'every member canvass Sunday'...
  • Enough

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Dan Brown's suspense novel The DaVinci Code has been a New York Times #1 bestseller for over a year now, having sold over six million copies to date. Soon, however, it may get some competition from the just-released concluding installment of the Left Behind series Glorious Appearing...")
  • Escaped Prisoners

    by Charles Hoffacker
    Each of us has seen the inside of various different prisons. Edward Hays provides us with a list of some of these.Consider if you are doing time in any of them right now. Consider whether you want to break out. Are you a captive to the clock and the calendar? That's Timelock Prison. Do you nurse resentments? That's Wounded Heart Prison. Or maybe your place of confinement is Angerville Prison, or the Jail of Impatience, or the Penitentiary of Fear, or the Prison of Prejudice, or even the Sacred Penitentiary of Religion. Maybe for you achieving is all that matters. If that's the case, then you're behind lock and key in Workhouse Prison. All these are popular places. They're huge, and they're bursting at the seams!
  • He Rose Out of Obscurity

    by Charles Hoffacker
    He rose out of obscurity and made a tremendous impact on his nation. Crowds of people gathered wherever he was, fascinated by him. The authorities felt threatened; it seemed like all the old ways were up for grabs. Families quarreled over what he did. Those devoted to him sensed that a new era had begun. Then, well before he reached old age, he met a tragic death. His abused body was laid to rest. All the joys he brought, all the release and new life, came to a crashing end. Those closest to him were lost in grief. So were many others. But reports started to circulate that he was alive again. People familiar with his appearance saw him in one place, then another. He always took them by surprise, utterly by surprise. Who is this, who had such a tremendous impact, died before his time, but was reported alive again? You may think we're talking about Jesus Christ, but we're really talking about Elvis Presley! He was once a cause for national controversy. He came to a terrible, pathetic end. And now stories keep circulating that he has come back from the dead...
  • A True Disciple

    An illustration
    ("She was a 120 pound woman who had been drawn in her soul for 3 days and who had already made the trip between Jerusalem and the tomb 3 times...")
  • God's Easter Gift to You

    by John Jewell
    If you have children or grandchildren, you are likely familiar with Barney the purple dinosaur. One of the songs they sing on Barney contains the words, "You are special, you're the only one -- the only one like you." The young children's hit show "Teletubbies" (which caused our granddaughter to drop Barney in a flash), has four similar, yet unique creatures. They are red, yellow, green and purple. They are the same and yet they are very different. But they have a great joy of life and a strong love for each other. The show teaches diversity, tolerance, acceptance and love...
  • The Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ

    by John Jewell
    ("My four and a half year old daughter and I were on our way to the grocery store and she was asking me questions about one of her favorite subjects. 'Are we going to see Granny in heaven?'...")
  • What If?

    by John Jewell
    ("A chaplain at a Chicago hospital worked with a family who had been struggling with their little boy's leukemia. Just days before Christmas they brought him to the hospital in tough shape...")
  • Why Are We Always So Surprised?

    by Beth Johnston
    In Sarajevo, on May 27, 1992, at 4:00 in the afternoon, a line of starving people formed outside a bakery hoping to get bread. Without warning, a mortar shell fell in their midst killing 22 innocent civilians, some of them children. Verdan Smailovic, the principal cellist of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra, saw this from his window and knew he had to do something...
  • *New Clothes, New Life

    by Paul Larsen
    ("John Maxwell tells a story about a blue blazer that he bought from Nordstrom’s Department Store. He had it for about a year and a half and the more he wore it the more he knew he didn’t like it. It wasn’t the right color and it attracted lint like it was a magnet..." and other illustrations)
  • *Resurrection Hope

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Kelly Haugh Clem, the pastor of Goshen Church of Piedmont, Alabama, tells a story of tragedy and hope that happened in her life. Hannah, her four year old daughter, was in the Palm Sunday musical the children were preparing. On Palm Sunday morning the sky hung heavy and gray. The air felt strange. The church was jammed with people. As the musical drama began, the rain crashed down...")
  • New Heaven and New Earth

    by D. H. Lawrence
    ("And so I cross into another world shyly and in homage linger for an invitation from this unknown that I would trespass on. I am very glad, and all alone in the world, all alone, and very glad, in a new world where I am disembarked at last...")
  • Because He Lives

    by David Leininger
    ("Easter. My favorite day of the Christian year. I am going to tell you a story...a true story...my own story...the story that makes Easter mean what it does to me. It was almost twenty years ago...January 4, 1979... right after lunch. I was at home, my work for the day now complete...")
  • Rolling Stones

    by David Leininger
    ("The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city's hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child's name and room number and talked briefly with the child's regular class teacher...")
  • Blinded by Tears

    by John Manzo
    ("Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union the people of that nation had a dilemma. What should we do with Lenin? Ever since the death of Vladimir Lenin, the first Premier and, essentially, founder of the Soviet Union, his body has been on display. People would come from far and wide to visit Lenin’s body in Lenin’s tomb...")
  • Alive!

    by David Martyn
    "The story is The Little Engine That Could. In this well-loved 1930 classic, a little train carrying oodles of toys to all of the good boys and girls is confronted with a towering, seemingly impassable mountain. As nicely as they ask, the toys cannot convince the Shiny New Engine or the Big Strong Engine—who are far too impressed with themselves—to say anything but 'I can not. I can not.'.."
  • Beyond Emptiness

    by David Martyn
    "Almost eleven years ago I arrived in Kelowna. I arrived by myself—the rest of the family would be arriving the following day. I took out the key from my pocket—it, like the house I was about to enter, had never been used. I opened the door, walked in and was enveloped by emptiness..."
  • Much More Than This

    by David Martyn
    ("Last month I visited a member of this congregation. She is not able to attend worship here on Sunday morning partly because she is 98 years old. And although she is not able to attend worship, she reads her newsletter and knows what is going on in the world. I think this because suddenly in our conversation she looked at me very seriously and asked 'Is there a heaven?'...")
  • Christ on the Loose

    by George Mason
    ("Craig Barnes is a Presbyterian minister who teaches in seminary now. But when he was a pastor in Washington, D.C., he was talking with a couple in pre-marital counseling. They were desperately in love. Plans were coming together beautifully. And then, all of a sudden, the groom-to-be blurted out, 'I just have to say that I am so scared of this!'...")
  • *Easter Always Enters Our Good Friday World

    by James McCrea
    ("St. Paul's chapel is the oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan. It was completed in 1766. George Washington retired there after his inauguration in order to say his prayers in response to the great duties he had just undertaken. In our own time, St. Paul's chapel was noted for its prime location - directly across the street from the World Trade Center....")
  • *Practice Resurrection

    by James McCrea
    ("the Coliseum had been built as a monument to the casual cruelty of the ancient Roman empire. It was a huge building roughly 160 feet high and capable of seating 50,000 people and was specially designed to showcase gladiatorial combat to the death, which was staged simply for the amusement of the crowd...")
  • On the Wings of Dawn

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In her book A Man Called Peter, Catherine Marshall tells of the unexpected death of her husband, Peter Marshall, who was the Chaplain to the U.S. Senate. He had a heart attack in the middle of the night and was rushed to the hospital. As she prayed for his recovery, she says that she was enveloped by a boundless expression of the love of God and an indescribable peace..." and another illustration)
  • Resurrection Certainties

    by Harold McNabb
    ("As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed...")
  • Passion, Proof and Purpose

    by Steven Molin
    ("In the spring of 1981, the president of national hotel chain was speaking at a conference in Atlanta Georgia, and while he was there, he decided he needed a haircut. While sitting in the chair of a neighborhood barber, he struck up a conversation. 'What are you doing for a vacation this summer?'...")
  • Liberating the World

    by Gordon Moyes
    ("One of the world's greatest actresses is Susan Sarandon. In 1995 she won the Oscar for Best Actress in the film Dead Man Walking. It is the gripping portrayal of an American nun Sister Helen Prejean who ministers to the men on death row. But that powerful film only tells half the story and left out the best part!...")
  • The Love that Never Ends

    by Carol Mumford
    ("George Frideric Handel had a vision of what that world could be. He was a remarkable and gifted musician who was enthralled by the organ, harpsichord and violin, and began to compose operas. He went from Italy to London and became the best-paid composer on earth...")
  • *Love's Discontent

    by Tammy Nelson
    ("'In the beginning was love.' It was not content to remain as a word, isolated, alone. In love's breath all creation took root. Love molded and fashioned humanity in it's image and gave us the capacity to love in return. Love was not content to remain a word, even when his chosen people betrayed and fled him time after time...")
  • Are We Ready to Embrace Life?

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("One day Hilda came to me crying because her son had tried to commit suicide for the fourth time. She told me that he was involved in prostitution, drug dealing and murder. She ended her list of her son's 'big sins' with, 'What bothers me most is that my son says he wants nothing to do with God...")
  • Easter Sunday (C)(2004)

    by William Oldland
    ("Several years ago a series of children's books appeared on the shelves. They were entitled Where's Waldo?. The object of the books was to look for a character in funny clothes in a mob of people on each page of the book. We knew the character was on the page somewhere all one had to do was find him. A spin-off of these books was a morning children's show called Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?...")
  • Celebrating the Resurrection

    by John Pavelko
    ("A family was watching a movie of the life of Jesus on television. Their 6-year-old daughter was deeply moved as the moviemaker realistically portrayed Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Tears ran down the little girl’s face as they took him from the cross and lay him in a borrowed tomb...")
  • The Faith to Believe

    by John Pavelko
    ("John Updike made a similar point in a poem: 'Make no mistake if he rose at all It was as His body; If the cells' dissolution did not reverse, The molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall...")
  • Resurrection Peacekeeping in an Age of War

    by John Pavelko
    William Barclay states that Jesus was probably borrowing an idea from the Jewish rabbis who held that the most noble task of a person was to reconcile one person to another. The English scholar explains that some people are known as storm centers. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they are always in conflict with others. These people just seem to disagree disagreeably with everyone and anyone. They can be found in any group or society. They just cannot seem to get along. Fortunately, these negative personalities have their own antagonist—the peacemaker. The peacemaker is the reconciler. The person in whom bitterness, strife, conflict and division just cannot abide. These are the people who have a knack for bringing warring factions together. They are able to resolve disagreements. They know how to find common ground. We are called to be these types of peacemakers in every social setting in which we live. While this begins with our personal relationships, it can and should extend beyond our immediate social groups to include our role and responsibility as citizens...
  • While It Was Still Dark

    by John Pavelko
    ("I had just completed my second phase of chemotherapy before my bone marrow transplant for recurrent lymphoma. The chemo had annihilated my white blood cells. My white blood count was 0. All the infection-fighting cells in my body had been destroyed. I was susceptible to the slightest cold. On Friday night, I had been admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 103...")
  • He Appeared Also to Me

    by Peter Perry
    ("Some of you will remember that the Lorraine Motel is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Today it is a museum and if you go to Memphis you can visit to the suite where King died, see the balcony where he was shot. You will hear the story of how King lay dying in the arms of Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy, and Young cried out 'It's over! It's over!'...")
  • New Life

    by Martha Phillips
    ("Here I have a daffodil bulb. She was old and wrinkled, just sitting on the self in the gardener's shed. She thought: 'I know what's going to happen to me. I'm going to be buried in the ground just like those other bulbs and that will be the end of me.' Sure enough, one day the gardener picked her up and dug a hole and threw her into darkness. She was dead...")
  • *The Day the Lord Has Made

    by Michael Phillips
    ("C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe details one of the greatest representations of the Easter message I have ever encountered. Four children, Peter, Edward, Susan, and Emily, discover the magical world of Narnia by departing this world through the back of an upstairs wardrobe...")
  • Real Life Resurrection

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("One of the most remarkable real life resurrection stories that I have encountered lately has been that of Sister Teresita M. 'Titz' Felisa M.S.M. She was born in 1947 and grew up in Mindanao, one of the most southern islands of the Philippines...")
  • *A Joyful Fear

    by Stephen Portner
    ("A young boy moved with his family to a new community and church. The Sunday School class required each student to give a memory verse to the entire congregation. The boy was given the verse from Matthew 14:27: 'It is I, do not be afraid'. The boy was nervous about speaking in front of so many people, so he avoided learning his verse as long as he could. Finally, the teacher insisted...")
  • Believing the Resurrection

    by Robert Rayburn
    ("I have been reading these past few days Charles Templeton's book Farewell to God. Charles Templeton has been an important figure in Canadian culture over the past generation. He was for some years executive managing editor of the Toronto Star, editor-in-chief of Macleans's magazine, the author of a number of books and a television personality...")
  • Groundhog Day

    by Gary Roth
    ("One of my favorite movies is , with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. It's a movie about a weatherman from a Pittsburgh TV station, who is sent to Puxatawny to cover the festivities. He hates his job, he hates his life, and he especially hates having to cover something so inane. But he has to go...")
  • Whoever Has the Son

    by Gary Roth
    ("Back around World War II, before the war, there was a man - a widower - who was a renowned art collector. He had a knack for finding good art, so that hi collection was known among art experts world-wide. He also had a son, and as the boy grew up, he became interested in art as well. In fact, he became even better than his father at recognizing true 'finds', which pleased his dad to no end...")
  • Easter Sunday (A)(2005)

    by Charles Royden
    ("There is a cartoon which shows two caterpillars sitting on a leaf. They look up and see a butterfly and one says to the other 'you will never get me up in one of those things.' Of course if a caterpillar wants to become a butterfly it has to leave being a caterpillar behind. The beautiful winged butterfly's life begins as a starving, crawling, and often very ugly caterpillar that hatched from a fertile butterfly egg...")
  • Getting the Message Across

    by Charles Royden
    ("An old story tells of a company attempting to start a new pension plan, which required 100% participation. Every employee signed up except one. No amount of argument or persuasion could get this person to change his mind. Finally, the director of the company called the man into his office...")
  • New Life

    by Mary Kay Sauter
    ("Cecil B. DeMille was asked to write a play about immortality. He went to his cottage in the Maine woods and began to think about the subject. One day he was fishing out in the middle of the lagoon when he noticed that hundreds of water beetles were climbing out of the water, and climbing up the reeds which surrounded his boat...")
  • Easter Sunday (B)(2000)

    by Martha Sterne
    ("Now we all know there are all kinds of empty. All kinds. An empty sky when you're hoping for a picnic and an empty sky when you're parched for rain. There's an empty stomach when you struggling with a diet...")
  • A Crown, A Cross And An Empty Tomb

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("There's an old legend about a priest who found a branch of a thorn tree twisted around so that it resembled a crown of thorns. It was a wonderful a symbol of the crucifixion, so he placed it on the altar in his chapel on Good Friday. Early on Easter morning he remembered what he had done. He didn't think it was appropriate for Easter Sunday...")
  • The Dawn of Forever

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("In April 2002, the well-respected Oxford University philosophy professor Richard Swineburne defended the truth of the Resurrection at a high-profile gathering of philosophy professors at Yale University. Swineburne used Bayes Theorem, a broadly accepted mathematical probability theory and tool to defend the truth of Christ's resurrection..." and other illustrations)
  • The Passion of the Christ: "Raised"

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("Even though Becky was born with birth defects, her faith helped carry her entire family through some difficult times. By the time she was four years old Becky already had several operations. Becky was in the hospital recovering from yet another operation when an eight year old girl was brought into her room..." and other short illustrations)
  • Ready or Not

    by Billy Strayhorn
    During the Civil War, a Union soldier was shot in the arm during the battle of Shiloh. His captain saw he was wounded and barked out an order, "Gimme your gun, Private, and get to the rear!" The private handed over his rifle and ran toward the north, seeking safety..." and other short illustrations
  • Resurrection: God's Final Answer

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("A man named George was accustomed to driving his wife, Rosie, to church every Sunday. And every Sunday, they parked in the same spot. George and Rosie had been married for forty years and they loved each other very deeply. They did everything together. They were inseparable in almost every area of their life, except one..." and other illustrations)
  • Something From Nothing

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("In late March 1993, a sudden, unexpected snowstorm blanketed the East coast of the United States. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, it was the snow of the century. Many hunters and hikers were trapped in the park, cut off from their loved ones. Four medical doctors from Knoxville, TN. had chosen that weekend for a hunting excursion in the Smokies...")
  • Dead and Alive (RCL)

    by Laird Stuart
    ("There is a true story about a man who survived the sinking of the Titanic. He worked for the company which owned the ship. When the great ship was stricken, he learned early on how serious the situation was. He went to his cabin and told his family, his wife and two children to get into warm clothes and prepare to leave the ship on a life boat...")
  • The Golden Rule

    by Laird Stuart
    ("During the war in Vietnam, John Plummer called in an air strike on a village. He had been assured it was cleared of civilians. The air strike happened. The village was filled with civilians. Out of the carnage came an unforgettable photograph. It showed children running toward the camera with their burning village behind them...")
  • Dr. Bernard Nathanson

    by Ray Suriani
    ("Once upon a time, there was a little Jewish boy named Bernard. Bernard was the son of a doctor--a doctor who had once studied to be an orthodox Jewish rabbi. But Bernard's dad eventually gave up his Jewish faith, although he still went to synagogue on the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur....")
  • Escape from the Tomb

    by Barbara Brown Taylor
    ("When I was a girl, I spent a lot of time in the woods, which were full of treasures for me. At night I lined them up on my bed: fat flakes of mica, buckeyes bigger than shooter marbles, blue jay feathers, bird bones and -- if I was lucky -- a cicada shell, one of those dry brown bug bodies you can find on tree trunks...")
  • The Good Part

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Frederick Buechner in The Magnificent Defeat has a wonderful chapter called Message in the Stars. In it he suggests that everyone would like to know whether God really exists, so why doesn't God prove once and for all that God does exist...")
  • Judging from Appearances

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I remember in one church that I served in as a minister that there was a man who had a run in with one of the other parishioners and had kept him away from church for years. Then one evening he came to a church social and quite by accident he was thrown into a group with this other man. In the course of the evening they reconciled their differences....")
  • Surprise!

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I think of a story that I heard awhile back. It was about a boy who expected a certain gift from his rich father. He was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told his father that what he wanted for his graduation was that car...")
  • The Light of the World

    by Mark Trotter
    ("In the 19th century, when it was established that life had begun in the oceans, some scientists reasoned that the earliest forms of life might still be there, hidden in the deep, dark recesses of the open sea, where human beings cannot descend. They were certain that in that world of darkness lay the first forms of life...")
  • The Day They Lost Jesus

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A student by the name of Tommy constantly objected or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. At the end of the course he said in a cynical voice, 'Do you ever think I'll find God?' His answer was an emphatic, No!...")
  • From Grief to Joy

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A mother sat in the hospital lounge in silence, tears streaming down her cheeks. The head nurse comforted her about the death, just moments before, of her only child. The nurse asked her, 'Did you see the little boy sitting in the hall as you left your daughter's room?'. No, the mother said, she had not noticed him...")
  • The First Seven Words of the Risen Savior

    by Joseph Wallis
    ("How do I know that Christ is risen? What proof have I to give? He rescued me from sin’s dark prison And I began to live. How do I know He left the tomb That Easter long ago? I met him at the dawn’s fresh bloom And life is all aglow...")
  • Resurrection Joy

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("The stirring music of Handel's Messiah never fails to move us with its beauty and majesty. On one occasion, a person was asked by a musician if they had ever noticed in which part of the Messiah the highest note occurs?...")
  • The Risen Christ

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("One Easter morning, a Sunday School teacher asked her class if they knew the origins of this, special day. One young man responded immediately, 'It's opening day for the Expos and Blue Jays.'...")
  • I Have Seen the Lord

    by Tim Zingale
    ("The late Dr. Kent Knutson said "On the Saturday before Easter, I and my family got up early to visit my mother who lives in a small town in Iowa. She is 82 and in ill health. We expect she will die soon. In reality the Knutson family went to see her to say their good-byes...")

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  • The Dawning of a New Day

    by Mickey Anders
  • Savior at Large

    by Craig Barnes
  • The Weakest Link

    by Phil Bloom
  • Easter Sunday

    by Michaela Connolly, OP
  • Whom Do You Seek?

    by Grant Dillenbeck & Marilyn Richardson
  • Alleluia! Praise the Lord!

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
  • The Empty Tomb

    by Bryan Findlayson
  • *When The Race Is Won!

    by Justin K. Fisher
  • Easter Sunday

    by Grant Gallup
  • Easter Sunday

    by Jim Mazzone
  • Are We Ready to Embrace Life?

    by Paul Nuechterlein
  • What Does It Mean to Be Named after St. Thomas?

    by William Oldland
    Jesus appears in a vision to a man called Abbanes. Abbanes was an envoy of an Indian King named Gundaphar. Gundaphar sent Abbanes on a mission to find a master builder to construct his palace. In the vision Jesus tells Abbanes that Thomas is a master builder. As a result, Thomas is sold to Abbanes as a slave. Abbanes brings Thomas back to India presenting him to King Gundaphar as a master builder. Gundaphar gives Thomas a huge amount of Money to build the palace. However, Thomas does not hire artisans or stone workers. Thomas spends his time moving among the people. He preaches the Gospel. He gives all of the money away to the poor. Many of the people convert to Christianity. Gundaphar seeing no results toward his palace has Thomas arrested and plans to kill him. Thomas has a miraculous escape and Gundaphar has a vision. God comes to Gundaphar and tells him Thomas has built him a palace of living stones. As a result Gundaphar converts to Christianity. Thomas continues to travel around the countryside preaching and baptizing. On his journey he enters the city of Misdai, which belongs to another king. This king's wife and son hear the Gospel and are baptized. As a result, Thomas is arrested and taken outside the city by four soldiers. These four soldiers kill Thomas with their spears...
  • *Resurrection

    by Michael Phillips
  • Rolling Stones

    by Gary Roth
  • The Easter Spirit

    by Jeeva Sam
  • The Scandalous Cross

    by Kari Jo Verhulst

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