Sunday 17th April 2022 @ 5:30 pm
For those who have asked, here is the sermon from the RTE TV Easter morning service. A link to the whole service (those musicians were just incredible) is at the end of this blog, and will be up for a month or so.
This is it. This is the reason we do what we do.
We have gazed into the abyss this week in Christian world … deliberately poked the darkness of death. In the story of Christ’s walk to the cross, we have seen injustice, petty jealousy, political scheming, brutality, violence, loss and death – that’s traditionally why Holy Saturday is such a downbeat morose day. You’d be forgiven for listening to that list of things and thinking, ‘holy week? that’s every week in these days Jools!’
Injustice, petty jealousy, political scheming, brutality, violence, loss and death – we see these realities all around us – over 6 million dead because of a global pandemic over the last two years, the confusion and anxiety now of how we go forward from such an invasive health threat while still learning from it, and at the same time witnessing millions of people displaced and thousands dead because of a war born from expansionist militarism. You’d be forgiven if you were looking around the world and being mildly depressed.
So what now? What now on this Easter Day, which for Christians is the reason we do what we do!? What, if anything does the resurrection of Christ say and do for us?
Christ is risen? So what?
A couple of things to note …
On this resurrection morning sisters and brothers, we see Life from death!
We have gazed into the abyss of death, we have acknowledged it is all around us, and now we can gaze at the Risen Christ and say with Thomas the disciple who would not believe until he had seen Jesus for himself – “My lord and my God!”
Christ is risen – death is defeated. NOT EVEN DEATH as the final arbiter & leveller can separate us from God.
God is love, love was laid down on the cross in mercy–filled sacrifice,
and now –
turns out, LOVE WINS.
Love is stronger than death!
We have new life, life born out of death.
All that has been disfigured, all that has been mocked, all that caused the suffering and death of Christ has been defeated – has been turned on it’s head.
It is done! We have life from death!
The world, has been saved.
When I was in minister school one particular student in a NT seminar one day asked the professor what I thought was a rather surprising question – he asked. “someone said to me recently, when asked him if he was saved (that good old Ulsterman religious language), he answered 2000 years ago? I didn’t know what he meant – what did he mean?”
I was flabbergast, and I’m glad the professor put him in the picture!
Sisters and brothers, the saving act of Christ is for the world – a one time event in space and time, 2000 years ago, to stand outside space and time for all time, and beyond!
It’s done! God had saved God’s world. We celebrate this morning, LIFE FROM DEATH!
1 Cor 15
“Where, O death, is your victory??
Where, O death, is your sting?”
And here’s an amazing and beautiful thing: Listen to words from the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans,
‘it stands to reason doesn’t it, that if the alive–and–present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus) you are delivered from that dead life. With his spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s …”
Friends, we have life from death – the old order has passed away, and a new order of loving gracious compassion is offered to us to live in to …
This miraculous work of God – this saving of the world – this is for the world.
The winning love of God is not just for you and those you like and whom you like – or those you think are worth it … this is a work of God on behalf of the world.
Life from death,
And we also this morning have LOVE from FEAR
The injustice, petty jealousy, political scheming, brutality, violence, loss and death – these things of hate, stem from fear – these things did not win. Love won!
And love can continue to win over these things, when we allow love to win over us.
When we choose to let love live in us and through us into the world.
Christ is risen! Love won.
Sisters and brothers, join in with what God is doing in God’s world – transforming it through Love.
Friends – it is notable that when the disciples finally got their heads around what was happening on that first Easter – they did not say, “Yes, we get to heaven!!!
They said, Yes! Wow. My Lord and My God!”
In other words – you were right! You are Lord!
The life and the message of Christ was proved right – his message of the Kingdom of God being present and alive in this world – turns out he was right, and not even death could destroy it.
Love each other. Love God. Heal, spread GOOD news, live in compassion, show forgiveness, act humbly in the face of God and treat each others as if God is present in each one … these things that are of the message of Jesus – these things are now validated and vindicated, because Christ rose from dead – nothing will stop his kingdom coming.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”
… we pray it every day.” Let’s never stop.
Because I suspect the world needs it more than ever.
This friends is how we tie our greatest days of the Christian year together – Christmas and Easter …
The baby Jesus, born surrounded by suspicion and violence of the ruling authorities, who grew up living a life that called the world to live, bringing heaven here, died at the hands of violence … and this morning reminds us that nothing, nothing will stand in the way of deep sacrificial love. Truly King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
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