Thursday, June 7, 2012

Easter Sermon preached at the 10:30 am Eucharist 
at St Simon's on the Sound Episcopal Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Also, you may listen to this sermon and many others at the St. Simon's Church website - 
simply click on the following link:

Jesus’ Resurrection,
has now completed…everything.
God’s plan of salvation is finally in place.

And so, for 2,000 years,
Christians around the world
have gathered on this day
to simply say,
“We believe” in the Resurrected Christ.

But let’s talk about this business of Love’s redeeming work.

I suspect at some point,
you have lost someone
who was deeply loved and important in your life.

Their absence created an emptiness in life
which maybe even now is hard to fill.

The British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
once wrote –
“But what is loss….but an experience of love?”

If we did not love,
there would be no loss.
Love means that relationships matter.

And so, at its very core,
grief is an expression of love’s loss.

In the darkness of Easter morning,
Mary Magdalene decided she had lost too much…
she loved Jesus.

The Gospel says she went to "see the tomb."
And who knows what she expected to see there,
it certainly wouldn’t have been a miracle.

In all probability the disciples spent the entire day Saturday
in bent-up-anger and grief at what had been done
to their beloved Rabbi.
But that deep love,
which each one of us knows…
love that is experienced in loss –
brought Mary back to the garden on that Sunday morning. 

At the empty tomb,
Mary saw how God vindicated faithful, stubborn,
and self-less love…folks like you and me.

Speaking of self-less love…
There is a popular new movie
which my daughter Emma
has now insisted that we see twice already…
and it’s called the “Hunger Games.”

The lead character is a clever 16-year-old girl,
named Katniss Everdeen.
She lives in a futuristic, dystopian society
filled with injustice and hopelessness.

In a rather shocking opening scene,
not unlike many self-less love stories in the Bible,
Katniss volunteers to stand in for her younger sister
and fight off 23 others in an outdoor arena
until only one remains.

A few days into this ordeal,
Katniss develops an alliance with a little girl named Rue.
Rue is 12-years-old and reminds Katniss of her sister Prim.

However, Rue is killed by another tribute.
And at Rue's request Katniss sings to her as she is dying,
and spreads flowers over her body
as a sign of respect— and…
of disgust towards the evil Capitol.

What happens next
I believe is what many of us come here to see,
and that is…
the transforming power of Easter’s redeeming Love.

Because when Katness stands up to the TV cameras
and signals a defiant act toward the oppressors…
she sets off a revolt against the evil powers.

Katness shows that in loss,
Love’s work begins to transform the world.

The empty tomb is evidence
that the sacrifice of emptying one's self
for the sake of another…
is God’s promise that Love defeats evil.

And Love will not disappoint,
nor will it destroy…or be destroyed.

what God asks of us…is not easy to take on.
The loss or betrayal of a loved one IS devastating.
God knows that all too well.

In raising his Son from the tomb,
God promises that love will indeed triumph,
broken hearts will be healed,
and emptiness can be filled…

If not in this time of ours on earth
in the time of God, to come.

But for now,
if you are willing to see it,
we can discover God walking with us,
from Calvary to the garden,
from an empty tomb to Emmaus.
From Fear to Glory!

Jesus Christ is Risen today.
And, He shall reign forever and ever!

No comments:

Post a Comment