Monday, March 28, 2016

Sermon for Easter Day, March 27, 2016, by the Rev. Karen Joy Kelly

Sermon – Easter Sunday – Year C
Hallelujah, the Lord is risen!

On Palm Sunday we cheered him.
On Maundy Thursday we remembered him.
On Good Friday we jeered and crucified him.
And, today, Easter Sunday, our high holy day, we celebrate his resurrection.
Indeed, our lord is risen!
Yet, what a journey to that point.Those who were closest to Jesus and others who were faithful followers of his. As they scattered, each to their own thoughts … I wondered how they would answer the question, “So, how was your week?” as unknowing friends might ask. Unknowing friends, may not be aware that as their rabbi was taunted, tortured, and crucified their world was turned upside-down … and not for the better. They scattered, Peter denying Jesus three times, others, hiding in that upper room. They had given their lives for naught (or so they thought). Where to go? How do we escape this? What to do? Even the news … the good news of the resurrection by the women on Easter morn was even more of a challenge … unbelievable to their ears. “These words were to them an idle tale” the Gospel tells us.
God did a new thing.
This new direction was the promise of God.
You see, we come to this morning and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the messiah, the Christ, who has indeed turned the world upside-down, on its ear (so to speak) for the better. He came to teach us … to give us an example of a God life … a good life … by which we are to live. He reminded us of the love of God … Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your might and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Very simple. Very simply stated with includes everything we need to know in order to go forward. The old has become new yet once again; new in its simplicity.
God, through Jesus, gave the extreme example to show us the way. And God continues to show us the way … in new ways as we struggle and strive to live into God’s intentions for us.
We are called to be unconditionally loving servant leaders who show radical hospitality to all. No exceptions.
This a new era of understanding as to what will be like to follow Jesus … not as princes of the church, but as servants of the people. Look at our world. Look at our country. A world divided. A country consumed by divisive politics. Love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might; and love your neighbor as yourself.
This week Pope Francis chose to wash the feet of Muslims … a new thing.  All around us there are good things happening … and, this morning, we are invited to be part of those good things happening. We are here to celebrate that, yes, it is possible to live another way. We are here because we believe that. We believe that the resurrection of Jesus is about the resurrection within each of us.
During this holy time, many of us have become closer to God and to one another during our Lenten Bible Study, using ancient scripture in a way that brought life to those words in our day to day lives and having the courage to share our stories with one another.
During this time we have reached out to others in an attempt to find our role as Jesus’ disciples in this time, this new time, to bring that love to our neighbors. We are discovering how to love one another so that it shows for the whole world to see. We are re-discovering what it means to be followers of Jesus in this new day and age and how to take our place at the table in order to do so.
Yes, the risen Christ, is our hope … hope for a new light to dawn. It is real. It is palpable. I can feel it in the air. Can you?
I invite you to ask God this morning … this morning of the resurrection … just how God intends to use you in this new Spring of your life. How will you manifest the resurrection in your heart and in your mind and in your soul as you leave this holy place this morning?
And this, dear ones, is the good news of Easter morning. You are invited, yet once again, to a new beginning.
And we can pray that this good news be felt in all corners of the world this particular Easter … in a world divided, a country divided … with God’s help, love can and will overcome all.
Alleluia! The Lord is risen! Thanks be to God.

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