Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sermon

Alleluia. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia. (2X)
         Was not what the women at the tomb said, on that first Easter.
         No, not Joy, but terror and amazement.
         Not Alleluia, but “Oh my!”
         Imagine the emotional and spiritual whiplash of that experience—the Terror of the Passion, the Crucifixion, the Death… Jesus’ movement and message drowned in defeat.

         All that confronted by an unsealed entrance, an empty tomb, a young man proclaiming a promise of God—telling of resurrection and a new future.

         In that moment, as they flee, running away from such a strange turn of events.
         In that moment, as they shake in terror, and are overawed.
         In that moment, as they say nothing, zipping their lips out of fear.
         In that moment the resurrection shapes not only their future, but also their past.
         God’s actions in the resurrection of Jesus, there in the tomb, cause His past ministry to mean something more.
         Christ’s promise to go on ahead of them—it transforms their future, and our future too!
         Christ Risen, not only today, not only there with the women,
but Christ risen yesterday, the resurrection as a way to look back with understanding,
and Christ risen, the resurrection a promise and a roadmap for tomorrow!
Let us pray

Alleluia. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.
         Christ Risen yesterday; his life and ministry reconsidered in light of the empty tomb.
         They say hindsight is 20/20, meaning everything in the past is clear in a way that it was not in the moment when it was happening.
         And because of this, 20/20 hindsight, looking back on Jesus’ ministry, is overwhelming!
         The resurrection means all of those things Jesus did, are done by the one who God saw fit to raise from the dead—they are acts not only of a good man doing right, but acts of the Righteous One of God
When we see Jesus, the resurrection promises us, promises! That when we see Jesus we are seeing God at work—seeing the Invisible made Visible.
         The resurrection is a lens with which to look at the rest of the Gospel—a different way to see it.

All of a sudden!
         All of a sudden, God is the one found with tax collectors and sinners, foreigners and children.
         God is the one found protecting a woman from an abusive divorce, and concerned for a widow.
         Found breaking religious rules, ministering to the demon possessed, in the impure mess, of pigs and tombs and the living and the dead.
         God on a donkey, not a warhorse—because ((the donkey) makes all the difference)
         God with us in all this mess!
All of a sudden!
         All of a sudden, God is the one abandoned by family, rejected by his hometown, betrayed and denied by those closest to him.
         God is the one violently attacked, humiliated, put on trial… all by religious and political people.
         God Found, ultimately, accursed on a cross crying, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me…”
All of a sudden!
         All of a sudden all this is redeemed… all this done, as Paul writes, “For our sins and in accordance to scripture.”
         All this for us.
         All this, a beginning, not an end!
         God is found up again,
         Working again,
         In among the mess again!
         Found, “going ahead of you to Galilee.”

Alleluia. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.
         Christ Risen tomorrow; tomorrow because he’s going ahead of you to Galilee.
         Christ was not just there in the Gospel, in his ministry before the crucifixion, though he was there!
         Christ is going on ahead of us.
         Christ’s resurrection means he’s still at work!
         As we go on our own journeys, there is Jesus.
         As we fumble along, even afraid and saying nothing—there is Jesus.
         When we worry about our child in jail struggling with drug abuse—there is Jesus.
         When we visit a friend or parent in the hospital and just don’t know what to say—there is Jesus.
         When we are alone and alienated—there is Jesus.
         When we are strangers in a strange land, or find ourselves steeped in sin—there is Jesus.
         When we are humiliated and struggle with all the trials of this life—there is Jesus.

         When we take up the task of those women, and tell the disciples,
         When we tell our neighbors,
         When we step out in boldness and tell those who need to hear a word of comfort,
         When we tell them all,
         Tell them that he is risen and goes ahead of youthere is Jesus.
         When we trust our future to God, trust that yes, Christ will be there
         When we listen to the hope of the Gospel and hold on to it for dear life.
         When we take the promises of God to be true and good.
         When we go forward in faith–there is Jesus.

         When we seek out God among those who might make us cringe,
         When we protect the abused and feed the hungry,
         When we step into the mess and get our hands dirty,
         When we seek the abandoned and the rejected—there is Jesus.

         Christ Risen yesterday.
         Christ Risen today.
         Christ Risen tomorrow.
         Alleluia. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.