Tag Archive for 'Easter'

Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day April 24, 2011

Acts 10:34-43                                                                      

Colossians 3:1-4                                                                  

John 20:1-18

On all the Easter Days before I was ordained, when I sat where you sit, listening to Easter sermons rather than preaching them, I always came to church with one great question: Will this fellow, the preacher, say that he believes this stuff – really believes – or will he waffle? Will he (it was always a he in those long ago days) just go on about new life and new energy, resurrection as metaphor or image or inspiring story? Or will he say, Jesus really rose from the dead, the tomb was really empty, he really appeared to his disciples, this stupendous and supernatural thing really happened, and I, preacher man, really believe it, really stake my life on it? Which kind of sermon am I going to hear? Coming to church like you, that was always the question I had in my mind.

So this is my last Easter sermon, probably the last one I will ever preach, and I want to tell you right up front that I really believe this stuff – that it really happened, empty tomb, bodily resurrection, miraculous appearances and all. I really believe it, and I really stake my life on it. So there you have it, and the rest of what I’m about to say is all by way of explaining what I’ve just confessed. Continue reading ‘Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day April 24, 2011’

Easter 2 April 11, 2010

Acts 5:27-32                                                                        

Revelation 1:4-8                                                                 

John 20:19-31

Most of the year, talking about Jesus and the readings we have from the Bible Sunday by Sunday is easy. It’s more a matter of what not to say, of focus, from all the rich possibilities – the insights, the applications to our lives, the challenges and the consolations. But then along comes Easter.

Easter is different – radically so. Here is not just Jesus the great teacher, the inspiring example of how to live. Here is no story from ordinary life. The Resurrection is radically discontinuous from everything else. People don’t just rise from the dead. We don’t know what to make of it. Believe it – and if so, what does that mean for our lives? Or disbelieve it – write it off as just a beautiful story, a metaphor for springtime though less tangible than the Easter bunny? Yes, Easter is a challenge to us. Continue reading ‘Easter 2 April 11, 2010’

Easter Day April 4, 2010

Acts 10:34-43                                                                     

1 Corinthians 15:19-26                                                     

Luke 24:1-12

 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. – Luke 24:11

One cold February morning a young man, just 18, woke up in his bed. It was a Sunday and in the distance a church bell was ringing. The young man sat there a moment, then he said to himself quite suddenly, unexpectedly, “I do believe in God and I’m going to do something about it.” And he got up and went to church.

This was a decision he made. He had not been at all sure about God, whether he believed, who or what God was, what God – if there were a God – might have to do with his life. He was far from home, you see, at college, on his own really for the first time. He was being challenged by teachers to think for himself, to make up his mind. “You can’t just go through life in neutral,” one young instructor had said to his class. “You must decide, you must own what you decide, and you must be prepared to defend it and live it out in your life.”

 So he went to church, that February morning. And he has never looked back. And it has made all the difference. That young man stands before you this Easter morning. Continue reading ‘Easter Day April 4, 2010’

Lent 5 March 21, 2010

Isaiah 43:16-21                                                                  

Philippians 3:4b-14                                                            

John 12:1-8

 “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” – John 12:8

I am tired. The other day I was visiting with an old friend, a man my age. How are you, he asked. I’m exhausted, I said. And I began to cry.

Well, part of that exhaustion is that we’re coming up to Holy Week and Easter, and clergy are always exhausted getting ready for the string of demanding liturgies at this time of year. Part of it is also that on top of all those services we’ve added the whole Come and See evangelism project for Easter. And, of course, God has seen fit, as he does most years, to put the Crucifixion and Resurrection right in the middle of income tax time and cleaning up the garden for spring. So, exhaustion is to be expected. As Anne reminds me, it’s an annual thing.

But part of my exhaustion is also a participation in your exhaustion. Someone said to me recently, “You get around in your job, don’t you.” And indeed I do. You might say that “getting around” is my job. The old word for the parish priest was parson, which comes from person. The parson was the “person” of the village, who got around and visited everyone and gathered up their thoughts and prayers and lives on his heart, to offer them to God. The other part of his job was carrying God on his heart to offer God to his people – equally important, and something that can get lost in a priest’s daily busyness. Continue reading ‘Lent 5 March 21, 2010’

Easter 2 April 19, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” – John 20:30

I was talking recently with a friend who has for a long time been struggling with her faith. She has for years been alienated from the church in which she grew up. Its preaching and its worship didn’t connect at all to her life. She had stopped trying to pray. And then the bottom fell out of her life. “I suddenly felt as if I had been shipwrecked on a desert island,” she said, “I didn’t know what to think or what to do.” If you haven’t yourself been as wounded by life as she was, you know plenty of people who have.

The story of Easter is about people who were as devastated as my friend. Continue reading ‘Easter 2 April 19, 2009’

Easter Day April 12, 2009

Acts 10:34-43

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Mark 16:1-8

When I was a little boy our family went to the Unitarian Church. In a lot of ways it was a good religious beginning for me. I learned to love and honor God’s creation, to respect other people and their beliefs, to value justice and peace, and maybe most of all to appreciate the importance of rational thought. Unitarianism, at least in its American form, grew up with our Nation in the first half of the nineteenth century. It was about casting off the superstitions and hierarchies of the Old World and building a New World based on enlightened values. But one thing we didn’t have at the Unitarian church, at least the one my family went to, was Easter. Continue reading ‘Easter Day April 12, 2009’