Sermon for Easter Morning 2020
12th Apr 2020
SERMON FOR EASTER MORNING 2020
As I got up this morning the sun was shining through the large windows of mine that overlook Argyle Square. All was golden silence and I could hear the birds sing. As I said a little ‘Alleluya!” it was tinged with the anxiety and concern I felt for my world at this time. After all, the last time I had experienced such silence was on the day of 7/7 some fifteen years ago now, when hectic King’s Cross felt such silence. An eerie silence because it was silence that had a powerful and terrible backdrop.
In the past Holy Week it has seemed like no other Holy Week, and the suffering, trial, death and burial of our Lord Jesus now seems to speak to our present condition more powerfully than before. The Passion, Death and Resurrection Christ as lies at the core of our Christian Faith. The Church traces this pattern and makes it our own. So much so that we make an acclamation in the middle of the Mass which is couched in the past, present and future tense: “Christ HAS died, Christ IS Risen, Christ WILL come again. In these three terse statements of faith lie the Christian belief and trust in the saving reality of Christ’s death, in the joy of the resurrection in the ever present, and in the life of Christ to come, which is our present and future hope.
A Holy Week like no other, almost a weird one... but as a friend of mine has said “Actually, no weirder than the first Holy Week!" Rather than allow the grand dramas of Holy Week to unfold in a straight line as a straight, two dimensional narrative, we are to be surprised and startled by their immediacy. We keep company with the followers of Jesus locked away in their houses for fear of reprisal following the Crucifixion of Jesus. This was their initial response to the Resurrection. Mary Magdalene had been the first brave witness to express the fact of the Resurrection joyfully. She ran to Peter and the other disciples full of that string joy. A woman, for God’s sake, in a male dominated world! Most of the men were fearful and consumed with bewilderment and doubt, and they shut themselves into their homes. Luke tells us that they were ‘startled and terrified’. When the resurrected Christ comes to them he knows this already “Why are you frightened?....See it is I myself) Luke 24.37-39. The presence of Christ is enough to overcome doubt and fear, and this will hold true for those diciples and for us.
This Easter, more than ever, it behoves the Church to look to Christ as its guardian and guide and to maintain the confident joy and the glad heart to serve him in one another and to proclaim a message of understanding, cheerful hope when a great deal of hope now seems to lie beyond the world’s reach.
And so, surveying the present scene, we will point to the three ‘green shoots’; the signs of resurrection even in the midst of apocalyptic scenes, like the New York mass burial of 5,000 dead and the frightening prospects for the poor of overcrowded slums, the starving and the vulnerable.
The first of these resurrectional 'green shoots', as for 7/7 is the presence of so many good and dedicated ‘worker bees’ whose bravery and dedication is ensuring adequate healthcare for the many who have the virus. Their work, at the heart of the crucible, even at risk to their own lives is truly awesome.
The second of these resurrectional 'green shoots' is the ability of people across the world to adapt and to change and to seek to continue to provide services and sustain a sense of normalcy in an abnormal time. Many have come out of retirement, have volunteered in their masses and have ‘put themselves out’ in the care of others.
The third of the resurrectional 'green shoots' is the one in which our planet earth, seen from satellite, at this time of inactivity and industrial shut down, is looking more green and this time of industrial inactivity has become a time of respite for our poor earth and a chance to grab a little rest and to restore its own damaged fibres..This is a time when our own less frantic routines might serve to find us understanding those things which fill us with light and health. Whe we slow down a bit, perhaps we can find healing, also. Perhaps this experience, couched neagtively as 'lock down' might also find us in a kind of ceel which invites a more contemplative existence?
The Easter greeting ”Christ is risen!” has always infused Christians with the power and courage to confront death, destruction, oppression end enslavement, fear, doubt and uncertainty. As we are confronted today with the challenges of COVID-19, we pray that in these days The Church my be united with the rest of our world in prayer and in affirming together our common faith and hope in the Risen Lord: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55, 57).
Easter love to you where and as you are on this great day.
May the Lord visit you, pass through the walls and windows and doors of your home
and give you his peace and joy. Amen. Alleluya.
Christ has died!
Christ is Risen!
Christ will come again!