Easter Sermon, 2017, scripture Matthew 28:1-10--here for the appointed texts
Green Blade Riseth From the Buried Grain
The stars produced the light long before it was seen.
The music was written before it was heard.
The seed was planted before it bloomed.
The grapes were plucked before the wine.
The wheat was threshed before the bread.
We were loved before we knew.
Upon first kick in the womb. Before our consciousness awoke. Long before we were met by the arms of the one who would hold us in our time of need and beyond.
We didn’t know then, what we know now.
But the seed was planted. The grapes were plucked. And we were welcomed.
With a love that was there before we knew.
A love that was there while it was still dark.
A hope that emerged before the stone was moved.
It was the day before the knowing. And deep in the earth a seed sprouted and forced its way through the cracks and water sprung forth. And the resurrection happened.
It happened. While we grieved, while we fasted, while we cried aloud to the sky—my God, my God, why have you forsaken us.
Even then, when all was lost and we knew not what we would find. It happened. New life there before we could recognize it in our own lives.
And, in times like these, in times when I fear when times when I sorrow. The hope that springs forth from knowing that, even in these times, the seed will sprout, and the grain will grow, and he will live--this is this the hope that sustains me. And it is a hope that cannot be taken away.
Poet Denise Levertov, whose life was shaped by World War II, lays claim to this hope in the face of those who would deny it in her poem, “The Fountain”
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen
the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes
found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,
it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.
Don’t say he is dead, because he walks amongst the living. Don’t say he is lost, because he has found us.
Speak, rather, to what we know--which is that when we walked upon the path we found him there. He greeted us and we knew him.
We knew him, even whilst we did not know the moment that had brought him here.
A moment left secret in scripture. The moment that precedes our notice.
The precise moment in which Jesus rose from the dead and shed his linen wrappings and left behind the death of the grave for the hope of the living.
Like the seed, like the spring, like the music, like the light. We did not see the moment of creation but we do see the life that has come.
The life that has come to us in this moment. This moment that transformed death, and its instruments, into life and a new creation.
All would be made new, but we knew it not.
We have been told, but our hearts knew it not.
And, so weeping we stood at the grave where Alleluia would become our song.
An Alleluia sung with fear and joy.
Because the death we feared to know had become the life we feared to hope.
Fear and joy.
As we flee the grave in pursuit of the life that has gone ahead of us.
Fear and joy.
Because, we know enough to hope—but not enough to trust without seeing for ourselves. So we pursue the life that has gone ahead and in our pursuit find our own life waiting.
Greetings Jesus says.
I was waiting for you.
I knew you would find me.
And, although you are afraid, you need not fear because I am with you.
Now and until the end of the ages.
So go, and tell others.
That tho' they thought to bury me.
I, like a seed, have sprung forth.
And, caught by the wind.
I have become WE and we have spread throughout creation.
They thought to bury me, but forgot I am a seed…
And, now that seed has sprouted.
Sprouted into a body comprised of millions.
Sprouted into the smallest babe and the most grizzled of elders.
Sprouted into you and me, them and us. Sprouted.
And, so Easter sprouts up where the seeds have blown and life emerges from the deepest of tombs.
We are the seeds of this new Creation. We are the body of Christ.
And, God has planted us so that we might become the body set free from the grave, so that we might become the ones whose love endures all things.
We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song!
And, everywhere that there is darkness. Everywhere that there is despair. Everywhere that there is weeping.
In that everywhere,
Easter people stand in witness and in love.
Love before we knew.
Hope before we knew. Life before we knew.
The seed needs the earth and the earth needs the seeds.
And from those seeds an Easter people have emerged.
Easter people in the midst of war. Easter people welcoming the children, sitting with the lonely, Easter people searching for the lost. Easter people holding the hands of the dying. Easter people lamenting and crying out. Easter people dancing and singing. Easter people kissing. Easter people loving. Easter people cradling a newborn in blessing. Easter people protesting.
Easter people facing our fears and proclaiming our joy…leaning into the love that risks all, hopes all, welcomes all.
We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!
So let us sing.
Let us sing the song that was written at creation and revised according to our need.
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!