Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Easter Day

Readings can be found here (we used the Isaiah, 1 Corinthians, and Luke)


We began with a children’s homily (unspecified as such, but still…) in which I reminded children of the “sad, scary, and awful” story of Jesus’ death that they had hard last week and reminded them of how I had told them (during our formation hour) to hold onto the truth of the “real” ending—not death, but life. 

Then, using clasped hands to illustrate the tomb, and unfolding them to illustrate the empty tomb—I invited the congregation to use this physical act of clasping hands next to our hearts as a reminder that life and love will win. So that, when we are confronted with sad, scary and awful things in this world, we have a tangible act in which we can remind ourselves that death and evil in the world will ultimately be defeated by the life that can never, ever die.

[The decision to include this "part 1" homily was in reaction to the bombings that targeted Christians at Easter Mass in Sri Lanka.] 

So, that was sermon part 1. Sermon part 2 began with a poem…


Working from the assumption that the best theologians are our poets,

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 everythingwhich 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 birthday of life and love and wings:
and of the gaygreat happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the noof all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

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

i thank You God for most this amazing dayBy e e cummings


and I thank you God.

I thank you God.

For everything which is infinite, for everything which is yes!

The yes of the mother.

The yes of the son.

The yes of the infinite and expansive truth that Emmanuel, is God with us.

God with us, for all time, for all people, and for all places!

Remember how the angel said, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

The forever is now, the kingdom is now!
Remember how the angels proclaimed, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

The anointed one! He will heal the sick, he will befriend the needy, he will be as one of us and not more than us. He will dine with tax collectors and sinners for He is the Messiah, the Lord! Unlike any Lord before, he will give all for all of us—not for him but for us. Not for him but for God!

And the angels said, “He is not here, but has risen.”

And death could not contain him. And hell could not resist him. And love has won again.

Because God said “yes” to creating!

Because Mary said “yes” to conceiving!

Because the shepherds said, “yes we shall see him”!

Because Jesus said, “yes, I will bless them”

And, the women said, “yes, we will tell them”!

We will tell them he is risen.

We will tell them that evil has fallen.

We will tell them!

Tell them, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth!”

Glory and peace

Glory and peace

Glory and peace on this, this day of resurrection!

This day when our hearts are full, with light and warmth. With spring and life. With joy and wonder!

This day when we celebrate new life and renewed hope.

This day when we celebrate all that is bursting forth from the place where all was not!

What is, from what was not.

Not death, life.

Not hate, love.

Not fear, faith.

All from a yes! Her yes, their yes, our YES!

And Yes, you heard me right, “our YES!”
Our yes to life and liberation.

Our yes to beauty and community.

Our yes to love and peace.

Our yes to healing and hope.

A yes brought him here. A yes brought us here.

Here, to St. Clement’s where we proclaim that Christ lives on!

Christ lives on, unbound from time and place. Christ lives on, dwelling within all of us. Christ lives on!

And so, we cry out with the angels,

“Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth!”

Peace! For the cross of death has become the tree of life.

Glory! For the empty tomb tells the truth.

The truth, that evil has been overthrown.

Once and for all, evil has been overthrown.

Now this does not mean there is no evil. This does not mean that there are no lies.

What it means is that the evil and the lies cannot and shall not and never will triumph!

The truth will out, and the world shall know what God has done!

Because, we didn’t come to church today to mourn the dead.

We came here to celebrate the living!

The living Christ in whom we live. The living Christ who lives within us. The living Christ, whose resurrection gives witness to the unconditional, unfaltering, love of God!

We came here to celebrate the living!

But our celebration does not end with the final hymn or the closing prayers. It continues out into the world—for we aren’t just Sunday Christians, we are a resurrection people called to bring life to the world.

And, as resurrection people, we feed the hungry and serve the poor.

We work for peace and we welcome the stranger.

For this is how Jesus lived and this is how we, the body of Christ, live on.

A living witness to the truth that,

Empires will fall.

And we shall live.

Despots will be overthrown.

And we shall live.

Kingdoms will cease.

And we shall live!

So, I thank you God for most this amazing day!

This day when we hear the words of the angels.

This day when we hear the “yes” of our people.

This day when we celebrate the life that can never, never die!

[Then, clasping hands and then unfolding them to reveal that they are empty, "the tomb is empty"]