Thursday, May 1, 2014

Good Friday Sermon

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Amen.

Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate asked him, "What is truth?" - What is truth? That is the question for us.

In a world where truth seems to be constantly manipulated, constantly false, it makes us very cynical and doubtful about what really is truth.

A billboard I saw on the way to Waterbury asked “who is Jesus?” and the phone # was something like 1-800-truth. But even that misses the point.

What scared Pilate, what bothered the Jewish leaders of Jesus day, was that Jesus embodied what he said. He lived the way he taught. People flocked around him because they sensed a truthful authenticity. Truth isn’t simply words on a page, truth is the lived reality of one who embodies what he or she says. This day truth was crucified on the cross, but the Spirit of Truth that lived in Jesus still exists today.

As I looked around, I saw truth in a way I had not expected. Before this year, I never knew PFC Kyle Hockenberry, then I saw his picture a few times on Facebook this past month.
“A member of the 1st Infantry Division, Hockenberry’s world changed June 15, 2011. He was on a foot patrol just outside Haji Ramuddin, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated nearby. In a photograph, by Laura Rauch for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, flight medic Corporal Amanda Mosher is tending to Hockenberry’s wounds aboard a medevac helicopter minutes after the explosion.” (Time Magazine)
In the picture is also Hockenberry’s tattoo which says, “for those I love, I will sacrifice.” He did sacrifice. He lost both his legs and his left arm in the blast. He embodied the truth of his tattoo for those he loved and for this country he served. He continues to serve today and continues his road to recovery.

Jesus lived out that phrase too. “For those I love,” which is all of humanity, “I will sacrifice,” which he did on the cross. Let us consider the cross of Jesus and how we can live into his truth today, this is a poem by Elizabeth Jennings, entitled Friday.
We nailed the hands long ago,
Wove the thorns, took up the scourge and shouted
For excitement's sake, we stood at the dusty edge
Of the pebbled path and watched the extreme of pain.
But one or two prayed, one or two
Were silent, shocked, stood back
And remembered remnants of words, a new vision.
The cross is up with its crying victim, the clouds
Cover the sun, we learn a new way to lose
What we did not know we had
Until this bleak and sacrificial day,
Until we turned from our bad
Past and knelt and cried out our dismay,
The dice still clicking, the voices dying away.
Tonight, may we see the sacrifice of Jesus not as an ending but a beginning for us, a new vision, the truth embodied in Jesus: “for those I love, I will sacrifice.” Amen.

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