|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 20, 2014
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:1-6, Matthew 28:1-10
Liturgy Calendar: Easter Day, Year A
"Resurrection Women at the Tomb”- Fra Angelico (1440-42)
This rock is very special to me.
Once when I was at Shrine Mont, years and years ago, Danielle, one of the girls in our youth group, found it and gave it to me. She said that she wanted me to have it because it has this cross on it.
And I’ve kept it all these years, and treasured it.
This rock became even more special to me after Danielle was shot to death by her boyfriend several years ago. Her death was such a waste and a tragedy. The cross on the rock took on an even deeper meaning as we all grieved for this life ended far too soon.
The death of a loved one ends life as we know it. Our expectations change. The things we had planned to do together are no longer possible. And even though for the longest time we continue to look for and to expect that person, ultimately we have to accept the fact that the person is gone.
But have they really left? The Bible tells us that love is stronger than death, and that love never ends. I think that’s true—whether the person we love is alive or dead, we still love that person, and always will.
And that love brings with it expectations. We Episcopalians believe in the communion of saints. Those who have gone before us are still in communion with us, and every Sunday when we come to this table, we pray with the expectation that we can go out knowing that “we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of God’s Son, the blessed company of all faithful people.”
And so even though someone we love has died, we wait in hope to see them again in God’s everlasting kingdom. And meanwhile, we see signs of them all around us. I know you can all think of examples of this—
For instance, a new widow digging up a flowerbed finds a lens from her husband’s old glasses lost in the soil and she thinks to herself that this lens can remind her that her husband is still watching over her.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had been with Jesus in Galilee. They had seen with their own eyes Jesus healing the sick, making the lame to walk, giving sight to the blind, and Jesus had cast demons out of Mary Magdalene herself.
And because of their time with Jesus, they had learned to see their world differently—to look at it, not with resignation or with disappointment and depression, or with loathing or with grief, but to see the world around them with expectation,
Because they had seen for themselves the transforming power of God’s everlasting love embodied in their Lord Jesus.
They no longer saw just the surface of things, just the familiar scenes of their daily lives, but all that they saw was transformed, shot through with glimpses of the kingdom of heaven, lit up with the fiery transforming light of God’s everlasting love.
And so Matthew tells us in today’s gospel that as the first day of the week was dawning, these two went to see the tomb. They didn’t go planning to wrap the body in spices as the women do in Mark—in Matthew they simply go to see the tomb.
In spite of the horror and the tragedy of Jesus’ death, they have been able to hold on to their expectant way of looking at things—
and they also have not forgotten that Jesus told them that he would die, but that after three days he would be raised.
And so they go to the tomb with watchful expectation.
I love this vision of the angel descending from heaven, bright as lightening, dressed in clothing as blinding and dazzling as the sunlight bouncing off of snow—
Who wouldn’t have been scared to death?
And so the angel says what angels always say.
“Do not be afraid.”
And the women, who have gone to the tomb expecting something to happen, are able, in spite of their fear, to look the angel in the face and to take in the message that the angel has for them.
The angel confirms their hopes. Jesus has been raised and is going ahead of them to Galilee and there they will meet him. And the angel tells them to go tell the other disciples.
As the women run to share this joyful news, they meet Jesus himself, and they worship him.
And he tells them the same thing.
“Do not be afraid.”
“Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Matthew ends his gospel with the rest of this story. The followers of Jesus go back to Galilee, up the mountain that they’ve been instructed to climb, and Jesus is there.
And Jesus sends them out with the expectation that they will be able to see within the events ahead of them, as tragic as many of these events will be, that the kingdom of God is still at hand and that their job will be to find others who long for this kingdom and who will seek it and who will catch glimpses of its fiery and transforming light even in the midst of the death and destruction that they will all face.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus does not ascend. The gospel ends on top of that mountain with Jesus saying these words to his beloved disciples.
“And lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This early morning story of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to see the tomb reminds us to look with expectation at simple things like the lens of a beloved’s glasses in buried in the dirt, to hold the rock of a murdered friend, and to see the kingdom of God breaking in and bringing with it new life, even in death.
This story reminds us that we who have been given the gift of looking with expectation for the kingdom of God here on earth have work to do—Go and tell others.
And that as we do that, never to forget—
That Jesus is with us always, until the end of time and beyond.