|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|
Sermon Date:April 18, 2014
Scripture: The Passion according to John
Liturgy Calendar: Good Friday, Year A
Mural at Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador honoring Archbishop Oscar Romero who spent his last days living and working here
Our last hymn tonight is “Jesus keep me near the cross.” The words to this hymn were written by Fanny Crosby, who wrote hundreds of beloved hymns that we still sing today.
And the theology of this hymn is that the crucifixion and death of Jesus mean that we will share eternal life with God.
The refrain goes like this. “In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.”
As Christians, we know that we will find eternal life in God through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
But this theology by itself—that I’m saved and going to heaven– is incomplete.
The third verse of the hymn reminds us that we also need to keep the cross in mind when we are trying to figure out how to live our daily lives.
“Near the cross, O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me. Help me walk from day to day, with its shadows o’er me.”
The crucifixion and death of Jesus have everything to do with the way we Christians ultimately choose to live our lives in this world.
Considering this little piece of the gospel story is helpful .
John has Pilate place an inscription on the cross of Jesus.
“This Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
And in John’s gospel, this inscription is written in three languages.
Fred Craddock points out in The People’s Commentary that the fact that John has this inscription in three languages is significant.
The first language is Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, the empire that held much of the known world at that time in its grasp.
The second language is Greek, the language connected with intellectual and philosophical pursuits.
And the third language is Hebrew, the language of the Jewish religious establishment.
These languages defined the world of Jesus’ day, and define our world as well.
We live in a world in which politics carries a great amount of power. We use our intellects in philosophical pursuits—our culture prides itself on rational knowledge. And the religious establishment, although its influence is waning in familiar ways, still carries a great deal of weight.
It’s in the world of politics, the world of our intellects, and in the church itself that we are called to live as followers of Jesus.
Jesus came to earth to bring God’s kingdom to us here and now—
And this kingdom of God is greater than anything we will ever know or experience here on earth.
This kingdom of God that Jesus brought to us has the potential to transform the world as we know it, depending on how we choose to live in the world as Christians.
As Christians, we are called to point toward God’s glory present here and now in the world.
We do that in the ways we proclaim the good news of the kingdom to those around us.
The light of God’s glory makes the human need around us visible.
Our response to that need as Christians– if we follow the example of Jesus– is loving service, not just for the needs of our friends and families, but for needs wherever they are found.
And the light of God’s glory helps us to see clearly how destructive injustice and violence in our world can be.
As Christians, following Jesus, we want to seek peace and pursue it, and work for reconciliation, rather than simply responding with more violence.
How we point to God’s glory in our lives will vary for each one of us.
But as an example, I want to tell you about Oscar Romero, who is on our church calendar of holy men and women.
Oscar Romero was a Roman Catholic Bishop in El Salvador from 1977 to 1980, during a particularly oppressive regime in that country.
People who dared to speak out against the government were assassinated or disappeared, never to be heard from again. This oppressive government killed people who dared to teach people how to read. This government killed people who tried to feed hungry people.
As bishop, Oscar Romero realized that if he wanted to point toward God’s glory and kingdom on this earth, he could not afford to remain silent.
Much like Pope Francis, he chose to live simply in just a few rooms attached to hospital in the town of Calavera. In his sermons, he openly talked about the violence that had frozen the people in fear.
And he himself worked in and supported the activities of those who were trying to address the needs of the poor people of El Salvador. Romero said that there are many things that can seen only through eyes that have cried.
Before long, Romero realized that if he continued to point toward the kingdom of God and God’s glory, that he would be killed.
And sure enough, as he celebrated mass one Sunday, a sniper came into the church and shot Romero through the heart. He died at the altar.
Romero said that even if he was killed, Jesus would rise up in the people.
And so today, if you have the opportunity to visit Calavera, you will see a huge mural painted on the wall of the hospital where Romero lived.
In the center of this mural is a huge cross draped in a white stole.
And below this cross is the life sized figure of Romero.
He appears with a wound to his heart, and his hands , which reach out, bear the mark of the nails. The poor are gathered around him—and their hands also reach out and have nail marks.
And bullet holes pierce their hearts.
These people are called the Crucified People.
The oppressors also appear in this painting. In contrast to the Crucified People, each of these people have their eyes and ears covered with their hands. Two of their hands point accusingly toward the others.
If someone painted a mural of all of us on the wall of St Peter’s today, what would that mural look like?
I hope that the cross would be in the middle, and I hope that all of us would be there.
I hope that people would see the wound marks to our hearts broken open because we’ve chosen to look injustice and violence in the face.
And that people would see our hands pierced with the mark of the nails, because we have worked to meet the needs of those around us, and have worked to end the injustice and oppression that we have seen around us.
That people would know that we too are The Crucified People, doing God’s work and pointing toward God’s glory and the coming of God’s kingdom into this world.
Boring, Eugene M. and Craddock, Fred B. The People’s New Testament Commentary. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
For more information on Oscar Romero the complete "Romero" movie is online at youtube.com.