Sunday, April 21, 2019

An Idle Tale

Alleluia! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!
          That’s our story—Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed, alleluia)
          An improbable story, an idle tale, yet it pulls at us. Like the women perhaps we see the empty tomb and are drawn to it, and are told this terrifying and liberating truth, “He is not here, but has risen.”
With that snippet of story we remember the words of our Lord. God willing we then go and tell the story to others… in telling it, we are transformed.
          Or like the disciples we perhaps do not believe, and yet like Peter we are pulled in by it, and go and see, and then are strangely satisfied by a grave cloth—amazed!
The tale transforms us in its telling.
          Alleluia! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!

          Let me tell you our idle tale, our improbable story…
          It was all both unexpected and inevitable
—this man Jesus carried the weight of Holy Scripture upon his body,
the promises of God culminated in his life’s work.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He was a figure like Moses—liberating his people
and he bore so much of our sorrows like Isaiah’s suffering servant,
he was a second Jeremiah,
stones would gladly have sang psalms of scripture when he arrived in Jerusalem,
he is Living Wisdom,
he is the Word.

          He is God among human beings, Divinity in the flesh, the Son of God… and, as is often the case, those who thought themselves grand, couldn’t stand it
—there was an equal and opposite reaction to his coming among us.
The powers that be, political, religious, and spiritual took a stand against him. They knew his presence
- pulled down the powerful,
-emptied the full,
-humiliated the haughty
—after all they saw his mercy, his uplifting of the lowly, and his feeding of the hungry.
So they arrested him, tortured him, and executed him on a cross.

          Yet three days later, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the sister of James, and others, found the tomb empty.
          As our Bishop would say: Oh my! Jesus is on the loose!
          Heavenly messengers reminded the women of the promised resurrection. The disciples soon came around, and then Christ himself
—Jesus risen from the dead,
appeared to many, that his victory might be known.

          This is his victory over all the Lords of this world, seated on their thrones of sin, the powers of this world can not hold him!
Their power and authority and rule have been proven a lie. What power do they have in their hands? They can bind, beat, and crucify—and that mean nothing!
Jesus’ death and life short circuit all of it! Jesus’ Lordship is one of loving service, solidarity, and humility.
In the face of this victory, surely the powers of this world collapse.

          Siblings of our Savior, please know this is NOT simply an event long ago. It is the start of a new thing
—a new era,
a grand unfolding of life from death,
a new creation.
In Christ we too die and we rise. It is an ongoing story that, by our telling of it in word and in deed, expresses a promise that is redeeming the whole world!

          That is our improbable story.
Jesus is the promised one of God,
crucified and killed by the powerful,
risen from the dead,
victorious over the Powers of Sin and Death.
          This is our improbable story—go tell the world our idle tale.

Alleluia! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!