Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Day of Pentecost, Year C May 19, 2013 The Day of Pentecost, Year C Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17, (25-27))
Seventh Sunday after Easter, Year C May 12, 2013 Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C Luke 24:44-53; John 17:20-26, Acts 16:16-34
Six Sunday after Easter, Year C May 5, 2013 Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5, John 5:1-9
Fifth Sunday after Easter, Year C April 28, 2013 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35
Fourth Sunday after Easter, Year C April 21, 2013 Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year C Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30
Third Sunday after Easter, Year C April 14, 2013 Third Sunday of Easter, Year C John 21: 1-19
Second Sunday after Easter, Year C April 7, 2013 Second Sunday after Easter, Year C Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, Luke 24:13-35
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 March 31, 2013 Easter Day, Year C Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24I Corinthians 15:19-26, Luke 24:1-12
Good Friday, March 29, 2013 March 29, 2013 Good Friday, Year C John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2013 March 28, 2013 Maundy Thursday, Year C Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116:1,10-17, I Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C March 17, 2013 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8
Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C March 10, 2013 Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C Joshua 5:9-12, Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32
Third Sunday in Lent, Year C March 3, 2013 Third Sunday in Lent, Year C Exodus 3:1-15, Luke 13:1-9
Second Sunday in Lent, Year C February 24, 2013 Philippians 3:17-4:1 Sermon, Second Sunday in Lent, Year C
First Sunday in Lent, Year C February 17, 2013 First Sunday in Lent, Year C Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16, Luke 4:1-13

 

Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sermon Date:March 31, 2013

Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24I Corinthians 15:19-26, Luke 24:1-12

Liturgy Calendar: Easter Day, Year C


One piece of fruit on a tree in the center of a garden.


We don’t know exactly what this fruit was—but let’s go along with tradition and say that the fruit was an apple. 

This one fruit on the one tree in the middle of the garden was the fruit that God asked Adam and Eve not to eat, but they cherished their desire to know everything that God knew more than they cherished God’s command, and so they ate the fruit.  In doing so, they unleashed into God’s good and perfect creation the power of sin and death, because now they had the knowledge, not only of good, but also of evil.   

The apostle Paul understands sin and death as weapons of the cosmic forces in the universe that compete with God.   

Paul’s evidence is scripture, full of stories about these cosmic forces trying to overcome and to destroy God’s good creation through the power of evil and death.

As we’ve lived through the events of Holy Week, we’ve experienced these cosmic forces at their worst, leading Judas to betray Jesus, Peter to deny Jesus, the crowds to turn on Jesus, and those in power to order the crucifixion of Jesus. 

Finally, these cosmic forces of evil seem to win as Jesus takes his last breath, is removed from the cross, and his dead body is placed in a tomb in the middle of a garden. 

Maybe Paul was thinking back to that first fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the tree at the center of the garden when he uses the image of fruit in his letter to the Corinthians in the passage we’ve just heard read today.   

On this day from a tomb in the middle of a garden, a first fruit has been harvested, this time  by God Almighty, the  Creator of heaven and earth.   

God has raised his cherished  Son, Jesus Christ, the apple of his eye,  from the dead. 

And in resurrecting Jesus, God strikes a mighty blow against the cosmic forces of sin and evil that were unleashed in the world so long ago when Adam and Eve bit into the fruit that hung from the tree in the center of the Garden of Eden.   

Here’s  the Good News for us. 

Paul tells us that we will ALL be part of God’s eventual harvest of fruit—“For as ALL die in Adam,  so ALL will be made alive in Christ.”   

All of us, every human being on the face of this earth, every part of creation—we are all the apples of God’s eye.      

All in Christ, and Christ in all.

And so Paul tells us that all will be made alive in Christ.  Just as the act of creation itself was a universal act on God’s part, so in this act of raising Jesus from the dead God restores us all to wholeness. 

But this good news is not quite the end of the story. 

God’s final victory is yet to come, because evil and death are still alive and active in this world, alive and active in our own hearts.   

What are we to do, then, in this in-between time in this in-between world, as we wait for God’s final victory and complete harvest, for all to be in Christ, and Christ in all?    

Let’s turn to today’s Psalm for guidance here—about how we are to live as we wait for God’s ultimate victory.   

Remember how we heard Jesus cry out the opening words of Psalm 22 as he hung on the cross?   

Jesus might have cried out these words of Psalm 118 as he was resurrected. 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” 

Giving thanks!   

We just have to give thanks when we remember that God has conquered, is conquering and will finally conquer evil and death for all eternity. 

The prophet Isaiah knew something about thanks and rejoicing! 

Isaiah knew that God was all about making all things new.   And so Isaiah passes on this message to us from God.   

God says, “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth, the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating:  for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.  I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people!” 

Our rejoicing today is part of God’s own rejoicing. 

Luke tells us that at first the disciples don’t know what to make of the empty tomb, (that’s the scripture we heard today)  but in Luke’s account,  at the end of the day of resurrection, the disciples rejoice  as they follow Jesus, their resurrected Lord, the apple of God’s eye, the first fruit of God’s harvest, out as far as Bethany. 

Jesus blesses them, and while he blesses them, he withdraws from them and is carried up into heaven.  And so, Luke tells us, the disciples worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple praising God. 

Next week we’ll talk more about  what we’re to do in this in between time, the time between the resurrection and God’s final victory over death, but for now, on this Easter day we celebrate the fact that the Lord has acted, and it is enough and more than enough simply to rejoice and to be glad in this day.   

Amen. 

Reference:  Texts for Preaching:  A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV—Year C.  By Charles B. Cousar, Beverly R. Gaventa, J. Clinton McCann, and James D. Newsome.  Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1994. 

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