Saturday, September 6, 2008
Easter Morning, 2008
The Resurrection of Christ, Giovanni Bellini, ca. 1475
March 23, 2008 Easter (RCL Year A) Colossians 3: 1-4; John 20: 1-18
The Lord of life is risen today! Sing songs of praise along his way; let all the earth rejoice and say: Alleluia! (Hymnal 1982, #205)
Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ, shall all be made alive. (I Cor. 15:20)
Grace and peace to you, blessings, joy, all the richness of God’s favor, on this first morning of the world. The earliest Christians would greet one another, Christos anesti! Alithos Anesti! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!
We walk up Hampton Street this morning and through the great doors of St. Andrew’s, but in the deepest and greatest reality of all we find ourselves this morning in the Garden, with Mary, and there is a sound just beyond, and we look up, and he approaches across the quiet space which is the landscape of all the created universe, and he speaks that one word, our name . . . our name . . . and in that moment and from that moment and forever, everything is new and fresh and alive, because he is alive. I love St. John for saving this story for us. Of all the stories of Easter. Easter in the garden, with Mary, earliest dawn, while the dew is still on the roses.
O sons and daughters, let us sing! The King of heaven, the glorious King, o’er death and hell rose triumphing. Alleluia! (Hymnal 1982, #206)
But friends, good people of this parish family, may it be not only for us a day of music and celebration, though it certainly is that, and will be, very wonderfully, with organ and choir and brass, our singers, even a composer-in-residence to create new music for us, and a long winter giving way we would hope and pray now to a spring of new life and abundant growth, in our families, our community, our church.
But may it be even more, even more, a day of spring and Easter in our hearts and in our minds and in our lives, to know that God’s promises from the beginning of time are true and sure for us and to know that we are in him now and destined to be in him and with him and for him forever. Hear that message this morning, before we hear anything else. Carry it home. Sing it out in the wide world. St. Francis said, “preach constantly: when necessary, use words.” But the news this morning is a bright light that shines from the center of our hearts and of our lives. Above and beyond whatever words we use to try to give it voice.
That the bread and wine of his presence at the altar on this day is for us the first taste of the banquet of our heavenly reality. Because it is symbol and sign and theme, but more than that, because it happened and is real and true and a solid rock of fact on which we are invited to build the foundation of our lives. Because the Cross that was defeat and death is now his victory and our victory, his Body broken and his Blood poured out now given again and again, alive for the healing of the nations, for our healing, for our new life. A new reality. By his blood he reconciles us, by his wounds we are healed. What healing would we ask him for this morning, in the yearning of our hearts? What healing, where there is hatred, where there is injury, where there is discord, where there is doubt, despair, darkness, sadness? What healing would we ask him for this morning, in the deep and perhaps the secret reality of our lives. That we would put our trust in him.
Raise your weary eyelids, Mary, see him living evermore . . . . What was she desiring, there in the garden? Her hopes and dreams? Raise your weary eyelids, Mary, see him living evermore. See his countenance, how gracious, see the wounds for you he bore. All the glory of the morning pales before those wounds redeeming. Let your alleluias rise! (Hymnal 1982, #190)
And finally, around us, from the brief passage of the Letter to the Colossians this morning, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
May it be this morning a day of spring and Easter in our hearts and in our minds and in our lives, this first morning of the world, to know that God’s promises from the beginning of time are true and sure for us and to know that we are in him now and destined to be in him and with him and for him forever. Mary ran to her friends with the news: “I have seen the Lord.” So for us, today, this morning. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And so again, on this Day of Days, Easter blessings to you, and Easter joy. Sing with joy. Christos anesti. Alithos anesti. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.