Sunday, April 20, 2014

That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright

Easter 1 Sermon
Year A
St. Clement’s Episcopal Church

i thank You God for most this amazing day
By e e cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Most in this room have always known winter.  The frigid weariness of the cold months, the scarfs, hats and mittens, the crunch of icy snow, the fog of breath.  Most here know that winter always gives way to spring and that summer will come.  

For me however, born and raised on Maui, that knowing requires a leap of faith, an act of trust in the power of the sun’s rays and the ability for the sunken bulbs to spring forth from the frosted ground.  My first winter in my 18th year began on the kind of crystalline clear day that autumn can present.  The sun graciously shining, trees still cloaked in green and the last flowers of summer still jaunty in their beds.  After several days of dusky clouds and drizzling rain, I dressed that morning with glee, pulling on a t-shirt and leaving behind my jacket, eager to step into the sunshine.

But, after only a few steps into that light I realized the warmth of the sun was a lie.  Halfway to my classes I burst into tears, I had never been so cold.  

And, by March I began to worry that I would never be warm again.  

I longed for leaves and for warm skin but the skeletons of trees silhouetted in front of dawn or dusk and the remnants of snow, iced over and brown with the accumulation of a winter’s road grit, taunted me in my yearning.  

But then...

Just when I accepted that this, this, might be all there was and ever would be.

The crocus.

The sundrops.

The forsythia.

The daffodil.

The tulip.

The lily.

The fine dusting of pollen.

The exuberance of the bee.  

Chased by the tilting of the planet in its course, winter collapsed under the weight of the budding trees and the artful delight of the flowers.  

I knew on that first day of warmth that this, this was akin to the resurrection--the college green covered in scantily clad students, frisbees flying with abandon and a winter’s worth of stale air coursing out of every open window.  

Sweeping the dust of the furnace out into the light.

Where the motes sparkle like so many stars.

And in that place where dust becomes light

I saw Easter.  I felt in my heart of hearts the joy of resurrection--the surprising 

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

The planet awoke and new life sprang forth. 

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!!  

Let the heavens and earth rejoice!!

What has been broken has been made whole!

I turn to metaphor, allegory, poetry and hyperbole--searching for the words when there are none that stand to the task of this truth...this truth...this truth!  

Death has been slain! 

And we, receivers of the gift, rejoice.

Ring the bells!  Break the chains!  Tear off the shroud of grief!

The reign of God’s love is here!

The power of sin is no more!

The tomb is empty and Golgotha is merely a shadow on this Easter morning.  

Run, run to the tomb!  See for yourself the empty grave!  

Christ cannot be contained.

“Do not hold onto me” Jesus says

He is not ours, he is for the world.

Jesus cannot be owned or contained--in this box or that

In this church or that

In my arms or yours.

He is for the world 

And we are of the world

And we are Christ in the world.

So break free of the tomb.

Tear down the walls

And embrace a new freedom.  

A freedom without limits or borders.

A freedom meant for all the world to see!  

A freedom that is love.  

A love that is ours, freely given

A love we are called to share most freely!  

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  

We witness to all that Jesus did

And in resurrection light, all that Christ does in the world today!  

God shows no partiality

The sun is the same, the moon is the same

Shining on all alike

Sinners and Saints

Righteous and Unrighteous

You and you and you and you!

Whoever you are, in all of your fullness

This resurrection is for you

The betrayer

The doubter

The fearful

The addict

The hateful

The lovers

The angry

The scorned

The broken

The sick

The hungry

The criminal

The indifferent

The child

The elder

The joyful

The sorrowful

The victim

The sinner

The saint

The parent

Say yes to the feast! Accept the invitation! 

And, then tell me,

What will you do with this new life you’ve been given?

What will you do with this grace freely given?

What will you do with this love?

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