Sunday, April 4, 2010
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. The Prophet Isaiah, in the 65th Chapter.
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. The Apostle Paul, First Corinthians 15.
Dear friends: Grace and peace to you, blessings, joy, all the richness of God’s favor, on this first morning of the world.
Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The earliest Christians would greet one another, Christos anesti! Alithos Anesti! Christ is risen, he is risen indeed! [Repeat this after me . . . .] Easter blessings, and blessings in abundance.
We walk up Hampton Street this morning and through the great doors of St. Andrew’s, but 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, 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, “when necessary, use words.” But the news is a bright light that shines from the center of our hearts and of our lives. And these are wonderful and necessary words: Christos anesti. Christos anesti. A Word above and beyond whatever words and in whatever languages we use to try to give it voice. All poetry, all song.
Take a deep breath and sing it out this morning. 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 a 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 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 heart? 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, who died for us. That we might live.
Raise your weary eyelids, Mary, see him living evermore . . . . What was she desiring? 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! . . . . a twelfth century Latin text, translated by the poet Elizabeth Rundle Charles for the hymn—in Hymnal 1982, #190.
Raise your weary eyelids, Mary, see him living evermore.
Paul in his Letter to the Colossians, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is you life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
May it be this morning for you, for us and all of us, 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. So Paul’s great affirmation in Romans 8: 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.
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.
And so again, on this Day of Days, from Isaiah: be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create.
Easter blessings to you, and Easter joy. Sing with joy. Christos anesti. Alithos anesti. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.