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Children’s Homily for Easter, April 4, 2021: Rise Up (The Rev. Dr. Deborah White)

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

It’s Easter! Easter is my FAVORITE holiday! Who knows what we are celebrating on Easter? That’s right – Jesus! What about Jesus? That’s right – Jesus coming back from the dead! Wait! What does that MEAN?! Do people usually come back from the dead? No, not usually. Some of you guys know people who have died, and you know that they are in heaven now and aren’t coming back to earth. But Jesus DID come back and he even talked to his friends. In fact, in today’s gospel story, he came back and talked to his friend Mary. What was that about? Well. lots of people have different ideas about it. So, let’s sort it out together.

First, I want you to tell me some things you know about Jesus. Good! That’s right. Jesus was good What else? Jesus healed people. That’s also right! Anything else? What’s the most important thing about Jesus? Jesus loves us. That is right. Jesus loves us. That’s why Jesus lived. Jesus came to the world because he loved all the people so much he wanted to teach us to be nicer and better and not fight with each other and do good things. And that is the same reason Jesus died. He died to show people that sometimes you have to give up what is most important to you to make things better for other people. What is most important to you? Well, for most people, the most important thing to them is their life. But sometimes people decide that some things are more important than their lives. Things like freedom, and goodness, and, most of all, love. And that’s what Jesus thought. He gave up his life because he thought showing that he loved us was more important than going on living on earth.

His friends were sad, so after he died, they did what we do. They wanted to have a service and remember him. Some of you know about that, right? So, Mary went to where she thought she could find Jesus, but he wasn’t there! It was like a mystery! And she was very upset! But then she saw two angels at the tomb and someone she thought was a gardener. But it wasn’t the gardener, – who was it really? That’s right, it was Jesus tricking her! She didn’t know who he was because he had been changed by dying and coming back. But, here’s the thing, his love was still the same – his powerful, powerful love – and when he said her name, she knew exactly who he was! Because Jesus’s love NEVER changes!

But Jesus did. After he visited his friends to let them know that he still loved them and would never really leave them, then he did leave his human body behind to go and be with – who? That’s right. He went to be with God. He told his friend Mary he was going to do this. She knew that when he was alive he liked to call God his father because it made him feel happy and safe. Some people still do that. We also call God other things that make us feel happy and safe. Things like Mother and Creator and Friend. But Jesus used to say “Father.” He told Mary he was going to rise up to see his Father – to rise up to the place he felt most safe and loved and where he could give the most love. So, what did Jesus do? That’s right. He rose up! He ascended. Who knows what it means to rise up? That’s right. It means to get up. It means to wake up. For Jesus, it meant to stop being human and start being God. It meant he could do what he always wanted to do – he could give his love to all people in all times in all places.

And Jesus wants us to rise up too. Not to try to be God, but still to get up, to rise up, to love everybody we can as much as we can. Can you do that? Can you show me? Let’s see! See, everyone, we can rise up in love like Jesus showed us. Alleluia. Jesus is risen. Rise Up. It’s easy to love. Do we agree? And what do we say in church when we agree? That’s right: AMEN. Let’s say it together. (AMEN).

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