Fifth Sunday in Lent

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Easter 7, Ascension Sunday, year A June 1, 2014 Seventh Sunday of Easter Acts 1:6-14
Easter 6, year A May 25, 2014 Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A 2014 Acts 17:22-31, John 14: 15-21
Easter 5, year A May 18, 2014 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14
Easter 4, year A May 11, 2014 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A John 10:1-10, Acts 2:42-47, I Peter 2: 19-25, Psalm 23
Easter 3, year A May 4, 2014 Easter 3, Year A Luke 24:13-35
Easter 3, year A – Shrine Mont May 4, 2014 Third Sunday of Easter, Year A Luke 24: 13-35
Easter 2, year A April 27, 2014 Second Sunday of Easter, Year A John 20:19-31, Psalm 16
Easter April 20, 2014 Easter Day, Year A Jeremiah 31:1-6, Matthew 28:1-10
Good Friday April 18, 2014 Good Friday, Year A The Passion according to John
Palm Sunday 2014 reflections April 13, 2014 Palm Sunday, year A Matthew 26:14- 27:66
Fifth Sunday in Lent April 6, 2014 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A 2014 Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45, Psalm 130
Fourth Sunday in Lent March 30, 2014 The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A Ephesians 5:8-14
Third Sunday in Lent March 23, 2014 Third Sunday in Lent, Year A Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, John 4:5-42
First Sunday in Lent March 9, 2014 First Sunday in Lent, Year A Matthew 4:1-11
Ash Wednesday, Year A March 5, 2014 Ash Wednesday, Year A 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


Fifth Sunday in Lent

Sermon Date:April 6, 2014

Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45, Psalm 130

Liturgy Calendar: Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A 2014

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We spend a great deal of time in our lives waiting.   

Some of this waiting I’d call mundane waiting—like standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting on the phone for the next automated direction in hopes of finally reaching customer service, or—a big one for me right now—waiting and waiting and waiting for my computer to come on and for Google to appear on the screen. 

And then there’s the existential waiting we do—waiting for a birth, waiting for our bodies to heal after an illness, waiting through pain, sitting beside someone we love immensely who is dying, and ultimately, waiting for our own deaths, which are inevitable. 

How we spend time waiting can make all the difference in how we spend our lives.  And so today’s passages are useful  to us because they are about waiting in hope.   

Ezekiel speaks a prophecy to the people of Israel who are in despair—they are in a seemingly endless exile in Babylon.  As a people, they have turned into nothing but a bunch of dry bones.  And yet, as Ezekiel speaks this prophecy, the hopeless people see these dry bones rise up. They see and hear God breathe  the spirit of life into them as God restores the people of Israel.   In their hopeless situation, once again they can feel a sense of hope.   

The psalmist calls on the Lord.  Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.  My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning.  The Psalmist, even though he feels that he is a sinful human being,  still waits on the Lord, because he knows that God is full of  mercy and forgiveness.  His waiting is hopeful waiting—waiting to for God to come and shape him into the person God wants him to be.   

And then we get to Martha and Mary.

Waiting for Jesus as their brother lies dying. 

Waiting for Jesus even after Lazarus has died and has been laid in a cold stone tomb.

Waiting for Jesus. 

And then Jesus gets there and when he says to Martha,

“I am the resurrection and the life,” 

Martha’s waiting ends.  She finds herself staring into the face of eternal life itself, 

The face of Jesus. 

As Christians, we believe , or at least we desperately want to believe, that Jesus is truly the resurrection and the life.   

(Show and tell here—show a beautiful glass bowl—the primary color is a deep rich yellow, the lip of the bowl is yellow and the interior is flecked with dark colors, making a swirled pattern with the predominant yellow color).   

I call this bowl my resurrection and life bowl.   

The dark center of this bowl makes me think of my own life—the sins that I’ve committed and continue to commit, things done and left undone, the broken things in my life—and yet shot through the darkness is this luminous glowing yellow—God’s desire that I have life, God’s mercy and forgiveness and lovingkindness, God’s spirit dwelling within me—all of this, my own unworthiness and God’s intervention in my life contained with in this luminous yellow edge—the circle of God’s love,  Jesus saying, I am the resurrection and the life.  This circle of life and resurrection enters into the darkness and transforms it, lets the light in. 

(Put bowl away) 

Held within this circle of resurrection and life, held in this light, encircled by God’s love, we can now, even in our own despair, wait in hope. 

And waiting in hope means waiting  actively for God’s transforming love to go to work in our lives. And for us to go to work in the world. 

Waiting in hope means that in our own lives, shot through with the glory of God’s light and life, be a witness to God’s healing glory here in the brokenness of our world.   

Because knowing that Jesus is the resurrection and the life means that we can no longer, ever, be satisfied with the status quo.   

As we wait in hope, knowing that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, we find ourselves being proactive, offering up what is broken in our lives to God, 

And working to address the injustices in our world—working to end poverty, working to end hunger, working to bring God’s light especially into the places that are full of despair. 

This active hope is the growing and living Spirit inside of us that allows us, even as we look death itself in the face, to  see there the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, and to be able to say, even to shout  into the darkness, 

“All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave,  even during  the most despair times in our lives, even during this season of Lent, we make our song. 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” 


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