Monday, April 21, 2014

EASTER 2014 - St. Simon's on the Sound Episcopal Church
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

and I’m not referring to the birth of Jesus,
sorry – I couldn’t resist that! 

We met a remarkable man
named…Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph placed our Lord Jesus in the tomb
and sealed it tight with a huge bolder.

Jesus was dead…
All hope for a Messiah had once again, failed.
Trusting and believing in God was nearly gone.
Organized Religion was corrupted by rules, politics,
and hypocrisy.
The people wanted no part of it.
Sounds familiar?

In light of your answer,
let me offer you this:
Do you see any possibility of a relationship
between Imagination and Faith?

The reason I ask…
I believe every human being,
who has ever lived,
has been given the ability to imagine
and have faith in something.

And, if you grew up in the 60s and 70s like I did,
your mind might rush to the Beattle’s on this –
particularly John Lennon…
but they are no help today. Sorry!

The fact is there are 2.3 Billion Christians worldwide
who in some shape or form,
have answered this question positively.

However, as large as that number is,
and living here in the Bible belt of America
we can easily forget,
that Christians make up only one third
of the total people on this planet.

That means, there are 5 billion people
who do not believe Easter is significant what so ever.
We’ve talked about this previously,
where nearly 17-percent of all ages in America
have no religion at all.

That is a problem.
Or more positively put,
That is our Mission.

Easter’s message is really very simple,
Life has conquered death…

So, for all Christians to live,
we have to remember this…
the ONLY reason we come to this beautiful place
is to worship God,
and proclaim by our actions,
that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead.

That Mission has not changed one centimeter
from the first century to this very day.
Church politics, bickering over selfish control needs,
equals death…hence the need for Good Friday.

So, today – this Easter Sunday,
God has given us yet another chance
to begin again.

I am convinced God is calling you and me
to obey this command –
“Go and make disciples of all people,
baptize them,
respect them,
just as we want to be respected,
and lo, God will be with us always,
even to the end of the age."

Braden John Costabile
and Grayson Christopher Scheel
We begin with you…
You are a blessing to us, and your family.

And in a moment,
we will welcome you into the fellowship of God
and into Easter’s joy.

Back to my question,
if everyone one of us has the ability to imagine
and have faith in something,
then what are we to do
throughout these Great 50 Days of Easter?

Of course, Easter is more than a one-time event.
Easter is an attitude, a perspective.
So, how do you want to build on this
and imagine a new tomorrow?

Imagination is not delusion.
Ask Bill Gates and Walt Disney.

And Faith can be indescribable,
but so are love, peace, hope.

So, Jesus helps with this,
in the expanding universe of his heart,
because even after the soldiers beat him,
and Judas betrayed him,
He demonstrated that Mission is not limited
to the beautiful and the good.

In fact, spiritual growth often comes in spite of the pain and death.

But, in the meantime,
Jesus invites us to expand our hearts.
To grow in imagination.
To experience Easter faith,
and to practice respect and love for all people.

The American poet Mary Oliver says it best,
“Even beyond what I see, I imagine more . . . .
Well, we will all find out, each of us.
And what would we be, beyond the yardstick,
beyond supper and dollars,
if we were not filled with such wondering?”
Happy Easter!