Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Vigil Sermon

How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and humankind is reconciled to God! May the light of Jesus shine in us to continually drive away all darkness. May the Risen Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find his light ever burning in our hearts—he who gives his light to all creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

It begin with a triumphant entry. It ended, it seemed, with tragedy.

But God wasn’t done yet…

And so the holy story goes on: The women of Jesus' company, do their duty, they get up early the day after the Passover Sabbath to finish the job of burying Jesus. When they arrive they find the stone rolled away. The tomb is empty. Two angels greet them.

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

It is the question of faith for Easter – for they are to become evangelists!

He is not here. He is risen. It's not over. It's only begun as he told you! Don't think you can come here and finish or go home to hide. Go into the streets and look for him. Go to the prisons and soup kitchens. Go to the ghettos and hamlets. Go home to your families. He is there among your spouses and children, your coworkers and friends, your classmates and teammates, strangers and those in need. In other words, beat it! The best part of the story is still ahead of you. [adapted from "Career ministry" by Garrett Keizer, Tile Christian Century, April 24-May 1, 2002.]

Easter pushes us out of those tombs where we bury ourselves and challenges us to discover fulfillment in living a life centered beyond ourselves. Easter throws us out of the cemeteries where we hide and invites us to embrace the love of Christ present in family and community and even in the stranger.

Easter dares us to look around the rocks we stumble over and find the path of peace and forgiveness and love.

Jesus has been raised up from the dead: He is not bound by the burial cloths of hopelessness and cynicism. He is no longer entombed by fear and distrust. His cross is not the dead wood of shame and ridicule but the first branches of a harvest of compassion and justice and hope for everyone of every time and place.

Easter calls us to rise with him and live the miracle – for Christ is alive!

Finished with The Easter Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

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