Preaching Resources

Preaching Mission for Easter Sunday (April 17, 2022)

Good Friday Sorrow, Easter Joy
by the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler

Assigned Texts:

  • Acts 10:34-43
  • I Corinthians 15:19-26
  • Luke 24:1-12

In the summer of my 15th year, I spent four weeks with my uncle, aunt, and family in Nova Scotia, Canada. Job #1 for me during those weeks was to get to know them a bit better since they lived so far away from us. Job #2 for those weeks was to assist my uncle in building an addition to his house. He was quite a good carpenter, and I learned a lot from him. I noticed right away how careful he was when laying the foundation to make sure that each of the blocks was laid on a perfectly flat surface and aligned perfectly straight. At each corner, the measurements had to be just exact. After watching him use a level to ensure that everything was perfect, I asked, so what would happen if the foundation was just an eighth of an inch off? After all, I really could not see the difference. He said, while you might not notice the difference down here in the foundation, by the time you put a 10-foot post into it, you will be a couple of inches off at the top. And each corner must be at exactly a 90-degree angle because while it might look ok at the corner, you will be several inches off by the time you run the 12 feet over to the other corner. So, the foundation must be right, or the rest of the structure will be compromised, and you will spend the rest of your time trying to adjust. It is best to start right.

It is no different with our Christian faith. We must get the foundation set correctly because as time goes along, any distortion will cause many more problems than it will solve.

The message of Easter is the foundation, and here is what it means.   God wants a dynamic and eternal relationship with you. John 3:16 is just the beginning of what that means. This is a relationship that supports you in your daily life, a relationship that helps you make important decisions in life, and a relationship that guides the way you use the blessings of your life. God wants a relationship that enables you to use all of who you are for the glory of God’s kingdom here on earth. How you use your gifts and talents, and how you use your time. And YES, how you spend and use your money.

The Easter message is also that nothing in life is beyond the redemptive power of God, no matter how desperate the situation might seem. For people such as Jesus’ mother, Mary, his friends such as Mary Magdalene, and his disciples like Peter, James, and John, things looked terrible on the first day of the week. But once those women got to the tomb, that desperation eventually turned into bewilderment and then to joy. The message of Easter is dynamically rooted in the sorrow of Good Friday. That same power of new possibilities is alive in our lives today.

Think for the moment of the story of Joseph and his brothers as we find it in Genesis chapter 37. Joseph’s older brothers hated him as they were jealous of their father’s love for him, and they were more than angry about Joseph’s air of superiority. One day when they were taking care of their father’s sheep, Jacob asks Joseph to go and see how his brothers are getting along. When Joseph’s brothers see him coming, they plot a way to kill him but soon develop a better plan. Instead, they grab Joseph and throw him into a hole. About this time, travelers on their way to Egypt come along, and they sell Joseph to them for 20 pieces of silver. How horrible. To make things worse, they kill a goat and dip Joseph’s coat into the blood to cover up this act of hatred. They take the coat home to their father, who is devasted. One might think this to be the end of the story; it is one of evil, hatred, and the sad result of revenge. But wait, God is involved here.

It turns out Joseph was a brilliant man, and once he got to Egypt, he became an advisor to the Pharaoh and was put in charge of many things. He skillfully predicted a famine and made sure that enough grain had been stored up so that when the surrounding countries were starving, Egypt had plenty to share. So later, when Joseph’s brothers come to find food, who do you suppose they have to deal with, their long-lost brother, who does not seek revenge but instead restores his relationship with his entire family.

As we gather here on Easter day, it is essential for each of us to ponder where our stories fit into the Easter message. What fear, doubt, or obstacle can you bring to the empty tomb? We all have Good Fridays lurking in our souls, so what in your life, vocation, work, and relationships need to be renewed by the Easter event.

What in our world needs to be renewed? Let’s think about what is happening in Europe right now. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, over 3.5 million people have had to flee with family and precious few possessions to seek safe shelter. This is Good Friday! But today, even as I see the war continuing, I also see Easter show up. Moravian churches in places like Herrnhut, Ebersdorf, and Königsfelt, in Germany and Nová Paka in the Czech Republic are opening their doors to provide shelter, Christian community, food, clothes, and other household essentials, to these families. In just the last three weeks, the Board of World Mission has collected over $150,000 to help these places care for those showing up with little more than their clothes. Easter is showing up already as people share God’s love and grace in such tangible ways.

Father Richard Rohr, who writes a daily prayer blog that I enjoy reading, sent this poem out on April 6 in response to what is happening in Europe.

“It Can’t Be Carried Alone”

How can we not feel shock or rage at what is happening
to the people of Ukraine—
As we watch their suffering unfold in real time
from an unfair distance?
Who of us does not feel inept or powerless
before such manifest evil? In this, at least, we are united.
Our partisan divisions now appear small and trivial.

Remember what we teach: both evil and goodness are,
first of all, social phenomena.
The Body of Christ is crucified and resurrected
at the same time. May we stand faithfully
Inside both these mysteries (contemplation).

In loving solidarity, we each bear what is ours to carry,
the unjust weight of crucifixion,
in expectant hope for God’s transformation.
May we be led to do what we can on any level (action)
to create resurrection!

The people of Ukraine have much to teach the world.


Those disbelieving disciples, who found the women’s news of an empty tomb to be an idle tale, will soon be taking the Easter story from Jerusalem, to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Good Friday grief, fear, and despair turned into Easter joy and then a lifetime mission. We do not go back to the empty tomb to lament but to proclaim. Easter’s calling to us is now to bring life to the world and transform even the most unfortunate situations.

Without any doubt, this is the very foundation of the Christian life. Accept the great love of God, the new life of grace in Jesus Christ, and the very presence of God with each day through the Holy Spirit.