Sermon: Sunrise Message

04 April 2010


The Rev. Jennifer Whipple
Congregational Church of Brookfield (UCC)

Easter Sunrise
April 4, 2010

“Sunrise Message”

Luke 24:1-12

          One of the best-known Bible verses begins, "For God so loved the world." I was thinking about that verse and wondering -- just how great is God's love and how could we measure it? Because as humans we often try to make things make more sense to us – to measure things, to figure things out.  This morning I brought several things that we often use in measuring other things. I thought they might help us measure God's love.

          Sometimes we use a measuring cup to measure things.  I am not the best cook…you could ask my husband to verify that one.  But every now and again I do cook, and if I am following a recipe, I use a measuring cup to make sure that I put in exactly the right amount of flour, sugar, and milk. But what do you think happens when we try to use a measuring cup to measure God’s love?  The Bible says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.... my cup runneth over." (Psalm 23:1,5) Well, if our cup runs over with God's love, I don't guess we could use a measuring cup to measure it.

          If we were building something, we might use a tape measure to measure the length, width, and height of different things. This one only goes up to about 12 feet.  Do you think we could use a tape measure to measure God's love? The Bible tells us that God's love is higher than the heavens. (Psalm 108:4) If God's love is higher than the heavens, I don't think we could use a tape measure, especially my 12 foot one, to measure it, could we?

          We use a watch to measure time. There will probably be some people here this morning that will use their watch to measure how long this message lasts, how long it is until Easter lunch, or the egg hunt. I wonder if we could use a watch to measure how long God's love will last. The Bible tells us that God's love is from everlasting to everlasting. (Psalm 103:17)  If God's love is from everlasting to everlasting, I don't guess we could measure it with a watch.

          "For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." How do you measure a love like that? We can't measure it -- we don't need to -- but it is nice to experience it.

That’s what today’s story is all about – the resurrection, the sunrise, all of us here united as one Christian family.  It about God’s love and the ways that we have seen that love in action in our lives – and have come to believe.  It is about God’s love for the world shown to us in Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus was sent not to die but to show us how to love – to show us what it means to be compassionate and service-minded, humble and willing to use our God-given gifts to bring about justice.

             The women who went to the tomb, the women who had followed Jesus, went there not only out of obligation, but out of their grief, their belief, and their love.  So you can imagine their surprise when they arrived to an empty tomb – and had to question all that they had seen and believed.  Especially when they were told that Jesus had been raised, and the disciples refused to believe them without separate and special proof.  But I think this story hinges on the question that the women were asked by the two men in dazzling white clothes. 

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”  You should be looking for the living among the living.  And near the end of Luke’s gospel, just before Jesus ascends to Heaven, he tells the disciples that they are witnesses. 

Perhaps the disciples and the women could not understand the depth of God’s love shown to them through the last few experiences of Jesus’ life – through his denial, desertion, and crucifixion.  They were heart-broken and hurting.  They were perplexed and terrified.  It was not until Jesus came back and opened them up to a new understanding of his teachings that they could begin to wrap their heads around what it is that God was trying to teach them and get them to teach others. 

But we stand here today, 2000 years later, and we get to celebrate once again the miracle of this story.  We get to understand what it is that God did in sending Jesus into the world.  And we receive the same call that the women did so many years ago.

You should be looking for the living among the living.  Seek there and you will find him.  So today we are challenged to think about where it is that we see the face of Christ in the faces of those whom we encounter each day – and how it is that we experience God’s immeasurable love in their thoughts and their actions.  We are also challenged to think about whether or not others can see the face of Christ and God’s immeasurable love through our actions – through the things we say and do.  For Jesus said in the gospel of Luke, “You are witnesses.” 

Today we are called to look a little bit more closely at the faces of those around us – to see God in them.  We are called to use our God-given gifts to be the face of Christ for others – working to do acts of justice and kindness…and spreading Jesus’ message of life, peace, love, and hope.  For we are blessed today to remember once again that we should look for our ever-living Savior among the living…and not among the dead.  For today we celebrate once again that Christ is Risen.  Christ is risen indeed.  Alleluia!  And Amen.

NOTE:  The beginning of this sermon was taken and adapted from a children's sermon on  The direct link is

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