I wonder do you ever forget anything? Do you ever need to be reminded about anything? Of course the worst thing would be if you had forgotten that you forget things! What kinds of things might you need to be reminded about? Perhaps it's PE day in school and you need to remember your kit. Maybe it's to remind you to tidy your room.
When you're grown up, you might need a phone or diary to remind you about things. You can set alarms and reminders on your phone. Or if you looked in my diary, you would see that I've to go to the dentist on Wednesday morning!
In our bible reading today, Paul tells us that there's something else that we need to be reminded about. I'll tell you what it is in a wee minute. But first, a question - is anyone looking forward to the Olympics in London this year? What's your favourite sport? It might be javelin, cycling, or rowing. I'm told that Tiddliwinks isn't an Olympic sport. What happens in the relay races?
One runner starts, carrying a baton. Then they pass it on to the next runner, and so on. But let's see what it looks like. I've got a baton, and just need four volunteers. [four volunteers spaced out along the aisle, running towards the front] They may not make it to the Olympics, but they have set a new world record for the fastest relay team to run the length of Aghavea Church!
Let's ask one of the runners what they did: they received the baton and then passed it on. Paul says that his mission is a bit like that. He's not running in a race, though, let's discover what he's passing on. [baton was the cardboard tube from the inside of a cling film roll, inside there's a sheet of paper with the phrase 'good news' printed on it]. Paul has received the good news, and then he passes it on to others.
But what is the good news? It's told in my three Easter eggs from last week. If you saw them, then this is a reminder, but if you didn't, then my eggs help to tell the gospel, the good news. [three plastic eggs - mine were moshi monster eggs from Tesco - one with a cross, one with a stone, one empty] in the first egg we find a cross - Paul says that 'Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures'. In the second egg we find a stone - Paul says that 'He was buried.' In the third one, there's nothing, it's empty - 'he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.'
This is the gospel. This is the good news that Paul received and passed on. But why is it of such importance? Why does Paul say that it's the most important thing? Has anyone ever played a game of Jenga? In Jenga you have a tower of bricks and you have to build the tower taller. Perhaps two of you will play a game of speed Jenga?
Eventually, the tower falls - this one brick was so vital for the tower to stay standing. Without it, the tower collapses. Paul says that the good news of Jesus is like this brick. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, then we have no faith, no hope, and no life. Some people in Corinth were saying that Jesus wasn't alive. Some thought that it didn't really matter. Paul says that if Jesus isn't alive then we have nothing.
And how do we know it wasn't just made up? How can we be certain? Because Paul received the message from the people who met Jesus after he had been raised. He passed it on to the church in Corinth, who passed it on and on and on until we received it today here in Aghavea. We need to be reminded - lets ask Jesus to help us to remember that he's alive, because that makes the difference in how we live, it helps us face the difficult days, and we can look forward to being with him.
Paul received the message and passed it on. Will you pass it on too?
This sermon was preached at the Family Service in Aghavea Parish Church on Sunday 15th April 2012.