What does Resurrection Sunday mean to you?
A big sigh perhaps? After the long vacation it’s back to work tomorrow?
There’s a sign in a San Francisco wholesale florist shop that says:
“If you don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, you ought to be here five minutes before quitting time!”
Maybe it has brought a smile on your face as you really spent quality time with your family. And it’s a good thing. It’s memory creation and you cannot put a price tag on it.
Resurrection or Easter Sunday means something else to me but first let me tell you a couple of old funny stories and materials taken from that wonderful book entitled: Illustrations Unlimited.
You may remember the story of the long and rough Atlantic crossing where the seasick passenger was leaning over the rail of the ocean liner and had turned several shades of green. A steward came along and tried to cheer him up by saying, “Don’t be discouraged, sir! You know, no one’s ever died of seasickness yet!” The nauseated passenger looked up at the steward with baleful eyes and replied, “Oh, don’t say that! It’s only the hope of dying that’s kept me alive this long!”
It’s not exactly the right kind of hope this passenger is talking about.
Here is another story.
A man in his middle years was on a Caribbean cruise. On the first day out he noticed an attractive woman about his age who smiled at him in a friendly way as he passed her on the deck, which pleased him. That night he managed to get seated at the same table with her for dinner. As the conversation developed, he commented that he had seen her on the deck that day and he had appreciated her friendly smile. When she heard this she smiled and commented, “Well, the reason I smiled was that when I saw you I was immediately struck by your strong resemblance to my third husband.”
At this he perked up his ears and said, “Oh, how many times have you been married?”
She looked down at her plate, smiled demurely, and answered, “Twice.”
Now that’s an optimistic sense of hope.
Resurrection Sunday is a message of hope.
Psychologist William Marston asked three thousand people, “What have you to live for?” He was shocked to discover that 94 percent were simply enduring the present while they waited for the future–waited for something to happen–waited for “next year” –waited for a “better time” –waited for “someone to die” –waited “for tomorrow,” unable to see that all anyone ever has is today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow exists only in hope.
A lot of people do not understand the power of hope and a lot of people are living in a state of despair. Thornton Wilder says: “Hope is a projection of the imagination; so is despair. Despair all too readily embraces the ills it foresees; hope is an energy and arouses the mind to explore every possibility to combat them– In response to hope the imagination is aroused to picture every possible issue, to try every door, to fit together even the most heterogeneous pieces in the puzzle. After the solution has been found it is difficult to recall the steps taken–so many of them are just below the level of consciousness.
Someone came up with the 7 Characteristics of Hope:
- Hope lights a candle instead of cursing the darkness.
- Hope opens doors where despair closes them.
- Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst in them.
- Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot be done.
- Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of mankind.
- Hope regards problems, small or large, as chances to discover new blessings.
- Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.
The empty tomb is the great message of hope. Death has been conquered and when faith is place on the death Conqueror then life is found.
Resurrection Sunday reminds us that God has the last word.
So don’t give up hope.