|Second Sunday in Advent, Year A||December 4, 2016||Second Sunday of Advent, Year A||Matthew 3:1-12|
|First Sunday in Advent, Year A||November 27, 2016||First Sunday of Advent, Year A||Isaiah 2:1-5, Ps 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44|
|Christ the King Sunday, Year C||November 20, 2016||Christ the King Sunday, Year C||Jeremiah 23:1-6. Ps 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:33-43|
|Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||November 13, 2016||Proper 28, Year C||Malachi 4:1-2a, Ps 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-19|
|Charles Sydnor’s sermon, Nov. 6, 2016, All Saints||November 6, 2016||All Saints, Year C||Luke: 6: 20-31|
|Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 30, 2016||Proper 26, Year C||Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32, Luke 19:1-10|
|Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 23, 2016||Proper 25, Year C||II Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14|
|Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 16, 2016||Proper 24, Year C||Luke 18:1-8, Genesis 32: 22-31|
|Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 9, 2016||Proper 23, Year C||2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c; Luke 17:11-19|
|Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 2, 2016||Proper 22, Year C||II Timothy 1:1-14|
|Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||September 25, 2016||Proper 21, Year C||Luke 16:19-31|
|Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||September 4, 2016||Proper 18, Year C||Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33|
|Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 28, 2016||Proper 17, Year C||Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14|
|Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 21, 2016||Proper 16, Year C||Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17|
|Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 7, 2016||Proper 14, Year C||Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Proper 14, Year C|
Easter, Year C
Sermon Date:March 27, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25, Luke 24: 1-12
Liturgy Calendar: Easter, Year C
"Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb" – Fra Angelico, 1440-42
“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.”
In these two sentences from the prophet Isaiah, God defines God’s work in the world all around us—ongoing, creating, and renewing work. God is busy making all things new.
And God says that our response to this renewing work is to be glad and to rejoice forever.
Today, we are glad and we do rejoice on this holiest of days—the day we celebrate the fact that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
As Christians, we live in faith and with hope that God will raise us from death to everlasting life, and make new lives possible for us and for all of creation, not only in the life to come, but starting right now.
All of the Easter day gospel stories begin at the tomb.
The tomb is a place of endings. A body in a tomb has served its earthly purpose. In the tomb, the dead body will eventually turn to dust.
But on this day, at the tomb where Jesus was laid after his death on the cross, God is up to something new.
The women who have come to the tomb have no clue what this new thing is—all they know is that the body of Jesus is gone.
They are puzzled.
And when they tell the other disciples what they have heard from the two men in dazzling white who appear and tell them that Jesus is living, the disciples listen to the women and think that they are telling an idle tale.
The disciples are disbelieving.
After hearing the story of the women, Peter goes to the tomb himself, and he sees that it is empty, and he goes home amazed at what has happened.
Puzzlement, disbelief and amazement, but no indication yet that the followers of Jesus believe or understand that God is up to something new.
So they aren’t yet able to respond with gladness and rejoicing.
We Christians know the rest of the story.
We know that God really is up to something new.
We know that God really has resurrected Jesus into new life.
So today, we are glad, and we do rejoice.
Please note though, that God hopes that we will not only be glad and rejoice right now, but forever!
One of the promises of God’s new work at Easter is that gladness will shape how we live all the hours and days that God grants to us in our lives.
The temptation we face, however, is to live as if God’s new work was after all nothing but an idle tale, and to let doubt win out over faith in a God who is always making all things new.
And here’s another temptation—to let fear win out over hope when life takes turns or deals us blows that we don’t expect or have any ability to avoid or to control, or to let fear take over when we come face to face with things we don’t understand.
It’s no wonder that in his gospel John reports that after the resurrection the disciples were locked into a room out of fear for their own lives.
All of us get into these states of doubt and fear which lead us to depend only on ourselves instead of trusting God, to separate ourselves from others, to hide, or to strike out in fear.
Or maybe we live in an ongoing state of disbelief that plays out in our lives as a sort of uncaring ennui or low grade depression that consistently robs us of the ability to be glad and rejoice about anything.
So how then, do we hold on to the fact that God is always making all things new so that we can truly be glad and rejoice?
In Luke’s gospel, the angels, those two men in dazzling white, God’s messengers, provide the answer to this question, an answer that the women don’t quite yet take in.
“Remember,” the angels said. “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and to be crucified and on the third day rise again.”
And so the women do remember, but they don’t yet know what to make of these words of Jesus, because “to rise again” is not an everyday experience, unlike betrayals, people’s cruelty to one another, and death itself, things which are all too familiar.
In the very next section of Luke’s telling of the resurrection, the resurrected Jesus himself appears to the two disciples who are walking to Emmaus. Jesus has to help these two remember all the prophecies in scripture that point to Jesus being the Messiah. It isn’t until after the disciples have remembered all of this, with the stranger’s help, that they realize that the one who has joined them at supper and has taken the bread and blessed it and broken it, is the resurrected Jesus himself.
Remember is an Easter word.
In just a little while, at the Eucharist, we are going to remember the whole story of our salvation.
We are going to remember how God created the heavens and the earth, how God kept doing new, redeeming, and saving things for God’s people who kept wandering away,
And most of all, we are going to remember what we know about Jesus. We are going to remember how he spread the good news of God’s new kingdom come to earth as he proclaimed the gospel and brought wholeness and healing to a wounded and broken world.
We are going to remember what we’ve just experienced all over again during this Holy Week, that Jesus was betrayed, was crucified, was killed, was buried, and how God raised Jesus from the dead into a new resurrection life.
We are going to remember that Jesus took bread and broke it and blessed it, and told his disciples to do this in remembrance of him, so that we will find him in our midst every time we share bread and wine in his name and remember.
When we remember these things, our faith and hope grow and get stronger.
When we remember these things, God’s love knits us together more closely.
When we remember these things, doubt and fear turn into belief and hope. We no longer have to remember the death dealing things of the past.
Instead, we can look forward to all the new and life giving things that God has in store for each one of us.
The promise of Easter is that we can enter, right now, into the new lives that God has raised us up into through the resurrection of Jesus himself.
God has not only started a new thing in both heaven and on earth, but is continually making all things new, including each one of us.
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
And rejoice forever.