Easter – so what?

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Easter Sunday - Year C
First Reading:                         Acts 10:34-43                                                 
Second Reading:        1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Gospel:                        John 20:1-18   

What I want to say:
Easter is not so much about getting into heaven as it is an affirmation by God of all Jesus said and did; is a statement of God’s utter and profound commitment to this world and all who live in it; and an invitation to live in anticipation of completion of that.
Easter is not the end of the story in John, it is one step – life and ministry of Jesus; denial and betrayal, crucifixion, resurrection and appearance to Mary, ascension and return, resurrection appearance to other disciples, giving of Spirit to those disciples… the story goes on. So what next for us?
What I want to happen:
what difference does this Easter make for us in our good Friday moments? what difference does it make in how we live in our good Friday moments?

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

Here we are
in the garden with Mary
some of us a little lost or confused
we have lived our own good Friday’s over the last few months
the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque on March 15
left many shocked to the core
how could this happen here?
this is not us!
and yet it was and is us
leaving us bereft
grief stricken for our Muslim sisters and brothers
grief stricken for ourselves
At the same time young people across the country protesting our lack of action of climate change
we deny it
we are angry about it
we are lost for ways to respond
not sure where to find any answers
leaving us confused and fearful for the future
Good Friday continues
each of us have own reasons to grieve
to despair
So we stand with Mary in the garden
what are your good Friday moments that allow you to stand in the garden with Mary?

       2.      What does Easter have to offer all this?

What does Easter have to offer all this?
This is my take on why Easter is so important
three thoughts
As I read the gospels and read commentaries around passages each week
more and more convinced that point of this whole Jesus event
ways gospel writers tell this story
is God’s deep desire for us to know how profoundly we are loved
that this world and all who live in are held in God’s generous and compassionate love
Jesus lived this scandalous love
-          breaks rules how God should be and how we should be
Jesus lived this scandalous love
in things he did
people he honoured and blessed
outrageous and offensive stories he told
living in a way to help us know that God is first and foremost
compassionate, generous, love
and God’s ways are the way of humility and powerlessness
            selflessness and service
even to death on cross
Resurrection does not fix cross and raise Jesus
resurrection is God’s big yes to everything that Jesus did
shapes how I seek to respond to events happening around us
helped me
when joined midday prayers at mosque with all uncertainty and deep sighing
to met risen Jesus in that moment of compassion and generosity

       3.      Commitment to this world

secondly –
as I have wrestled with Paul
listened to one great pieces in Paul about resurrection
number commentators talked about importance of physical resurrection for Paul
not statement of faith that need believe in get into heaven
how often used
but as God’s statement of commitment to this world and all who live in it
Jesus the Christ came among us as one of us
fully human and fully God
and rose again in physical form
for Paul this meant that Jesus was God’s faithfulness to the covenant that this world will be restored
Jesus’ physical resurrection is sign God’s commitment
to this world
to covenants
that God’s reign of justice and compassion
of generosity and peace        
which begins with Jesus
will come to fruition
we are invited to live in the reality of this commitment
in hope
living in God’s commitment to this world despite the evidence
and watching the evidence change around us

       4.      What next?

finally in John - resurrection is not the end of the story
Mary meets risen crucified one
cannot touch him because he has yet to ascend to the father
sends her to tell disciples that he has risen
she preaches first sermon
then he ascends and returns
-          very different Luke’s time line
when he appears to them he invites them to touch him
then breathes his Spirit, Holy Spirit on them
then invited to keep preaching what Mary first preached
“I have seen the Lord”
that is the invitation
what is next?
how do we carry on the story in our Good Fridays?
how do we meet risen Jesus in our gardens?
what difference does Easter make for us?
what difference does Easter make in how we live in our good Friday moments?
what next?
talk those around you
what difference does Easter make for you this year?


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