|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 25, 2012||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 12:20-33|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 18, 2012||Sermon, Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 11, 2012||Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 4, 2012||Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||Mark 8:31-38|
|Sermon, First Sunday in Lent, Year B||February 26, 2012||First Sunday in Lent, Year B||Genesis 9:8-17, I Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1: 9-15|
|Ash Wednesday Service, Feb 22, 2012||February 22, 2012||Ash Wednesday||Joel 2:1-2, 12-17|
|Last Sunday After Epiphany, Year B||February 19, 2012||Last Sunday after Epiphany||2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 12, 2012||Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Mark 1: 40-45|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 5, 2012||Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31, Mark 1:29-39|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||I Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 22, 2012||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:14-20|
|Second Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 15, 2012||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139: 1-5, 12-17; John 1:43-51|
|First Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 8, 2012||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:4-11|
|Sermon on Joy, Epiphany, 2012||January 6, 2012||Epiphany||Matthew 2:1-12|
Sermon Date:April 24, 2011
Scripture: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; John 20:1-18
Liturgy Calendar: Easter Day, 2011
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
We’ve just heard these words in our Psalm for today, the words of a person celebrating the great victory of a king who has suffered on the way to ultimate victory.
Yes, today we come together to rejoice.
We who have so recently stood with Mary in the dust at the foot of the cross know what it is to suffer in our own lives, to lose the things that we must have to live.
Some of us in this room today have spent time at the foot of the cross in hospital rooms.
Some of us have spent time at the foot of the cross in doctor’s offices and on operating tables because we’ve lost our good health.
Some of us have sat at the bedsides of the dying, standing at the foot of the cross as we watcha person we love leave this earth before our very eyes.
Some of us have stood at the foot of the cross with empty hands, having lost our incomes and our money.
So we can imagine Mary’s misery.
Having stood at the foot of the cross just two days earlier, seeing Jesus die with her own eyes—we know that sense of loss, the dark despair that fills us when we lose what gives our life meaning and joy and happiness and wholeness.
We’ve experienced the dread and the finality of death.
Now, early in the morning, Mary goes to the tomb, hoping to find some crumb of comfort in caring for the corpse of her Lord.
And she finds that she will not even have that small morsel of comfort.
The stone has been rolled away. Mary runs to the other disciples and reports this fact, and Peter and John, going to the tomb, confirm her worst fears.
The body of Jesus is gone.
Mary’s tears fall into what seems to her to be nothingness.
In spite of seeing two angels sitting in the empty tomb, Mary is lost, lost in a garden, having no idea about where to turn, or what to do next.
We know this moment. We too have stared into the empty tombs of our own lives, We too have been lost. We too have come to those dreadful moments when we have no idea what to do or where to turn.
And so Mary turns, and seeing the gardener, she asks where on earth she can find the cold dead body she has lost.
For me, the miracle of the resurrection consists of two things—First, Jesus, having died a horrible death, having been placed in a tomb, has risen from the dead. He stands there before Mary, a warm, breathing, human being, alive!
And Mary knows that this living human being is Jesus, because she knows his voice.
The second part of this miracle is that Jesus, having died, having experienced a bodily resurrection, finding himself outside the tomb that so recently held his dead body, comes to Mary in love, calls her name. He knows her, inside and out.
That is the miracle of the resurrection for us. Jesus comes to each one of us, calls each one of our names, across time and eternity, and if we are lost and seeking him, we will hear his voice, and know it.
I love the end of this story.
If you watch TV, you may have seen a show called The Hoarders. Now I have never seen this show, but I understand that it is about people who collect particular things that give their lives meaning, and then hold on to those things, until finally they can’t even move around because they’ve accumulated so much stuff.
Now I’m sure that Mary must have been tempted to be a hoarder at the moment she recognizes Jesus’ voice. She must want to throw her arms around him, hold him close, never let him go—EVER. After all, she had wanted to take his dead body away, so of course, she would love to take this man she loves so much who is alive once more, and keep him all to herself.
But Jesus has other plans for Mary.
Your job is not to hold me close and keep me for yourself, but to go, and tell the others that you have seen me—
To be the messenger of hope.
So Mary runs back to the disciples—this time to report, “I have seen the Lord!”
That’s our job—not to hoard this incredible love that Jesus has for us for ourselves, but to share it.
Not to throw our arms around our risen Lord, bask in that love just for me, but to share that love, not only with the other disciples, but with all the world—go and share it.
What happened to Jesus?
He tells Mary that he must return to his father. Jesus, in returning to God, carries us with him, through his love, straight into the heart of the Trinity, so that we too, the ones who hear his voice, can know what it is to dwell in the very heart of God.
In closing, I want to tell you about two people who know what it is to dwell in the very heart of God—and to share that experience through poetry and through music.
In the commentary Feasting on the Word, Deborah Block shares the story of a poet—some of you know the work of e.e. cummings—and if you have ever had the joy of going to Shrine Mont as a St George’s camper, you may know this song,
“I Thank you God, for most this amazing day today,
For the leaping greenly spirits of trees and the blue true dream of sky,
And for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes, yes, yes, yes
e.e. cummings was an ambulance driver in World War I who lost his freedom in the darkness and dread and deprivation of a French prison camp for three months.
And yet, having experienced those horrors, when he was released he wrote this poem—a poem that praises God for resurrection life.
Block points out that cummings addresses doubt and dismisses it.
“This amazing day! How could anyone doubt this life, this love, this “yes,” this You …. the God who raised Jesus, and raises us, every day, if we will only let him, from the dead.”
The second person who knows what it is to dwell in the heart of God, because he too heard that voice calling him—was the great jazz musician Duke Ellington
This man knows this God of love who raises us from the dead, and calls each and every one of us to new life
Listen to the words of his exquisite hymn—“Come Sunday” and you’ll see what I mean
“Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty,
God of love, Please look down and see my people through.
I believe that God put sun and moon up in the sky.
I don’t mind the gray skies
‘cause they’re just clouds passing by.
Heaven is a goodness time. A brighter light on high.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And have a brighter by and by.
Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty,
God of love, please look down and see my people through.
I believe God is now, was then and always will be.
With God’s blessing, we can make it through eternity.
Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty,
God of love, please look down and see my people through.”
And so on this day we celebrate the power and might of our Lord above, the God almighty, who loved us enough to come and dwell with us, to travel with us, suffer and to die for us, to rise victorious from the grave,
Who now, then and for always will be with us, calling each one of our names throughout eternity, calling all of creation—helping us make it—through eternity!
Truly, This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice, and be glad in it!