Sermon – 04-21-19 – Easter – Cycle C
Scriptures: Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; John 20:1-18
Sermon Title: “This Mysterious Miracle”
Do you like surprises or do you like to know ahead? Do you like the scientific approach or do you go for the emotional approach to life’s happenings? Believing all of the accounts in our Holy Book must be hard for the scientifically minded people among us. For the doubters among us, it is easy to fall into the pattern of “why would I believe this miracle stuff and why does it even matter to me?” Why indeed!
“This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made!” Well and good. How are we to perceive it? Shall we automatically feel good just because the calendar tells us it is Easter – the Christian Day of Resurrection? Well, it won’t hurt to try! Some of us find it easy to feel good on this very day. How about you? Some of us easily accept this strange story from approximately 2000 years ago. Then again some of us may still be questioning this impossible story. Or some of us can’t even think about the likely truth or untruth about this story because our own life fell apart either suddenly or slowly building over time. Then again, some of us simply do not care about the truth.
Some of us prefer life of the known, not the unknown; life with everything clear, not foggy; life on an even keel, without surprises; transparent life, not hidden; life that makes sense compared to life that is not sensible on the surface. Many of us are natured to be in control, not to be controlled.
Well, meet God. God is in control, not us. God has the plan, only partially revealed and, even then, not all at once. As life rolls along, the plan unrolls. Some of it makes sense and some of it does not. We think, “Why did God do that? Why did God allow that to happen?” We walk with God sometimes willingly and sometimes being dragged. On everything-is-alright days when the sun is shining with a gentle breeze; when the birds are singing, the daffodils are blooming, the world is turning green from having been brown; when the geese are honking their way north over our heads, God seems good. It is easy to declare “God is good all the time” and “All the time, God is good!”
On a day when a shocking surprise hits us that will alter our lives, God does not seem to be good. Saying, “God is good all the time!” simple gets caught in our throats or worse. We can’t understand what we did wrong or what message God is trying to give to us.
If we are the control freaks, we need to give it up, not only for Lent, but for every day. I am tempted to say that we need to learn to control in a submersive way, so that we seem to lose our “bossiness.” Wrong! Instead of being submersive, like acting under the radar, we need to be submissive. Our God is totally in control whether we accept this or not. It is beyond our control. We need to submit our wills. We need to say to God, “Help us to know your will and live it!”
But why would a scientifically-minded person accept this? If I were such a person, I would probably go my own way trying to forget all of this Easter nonsense plus all of the creation nonsense. Well the Good News on this Good-News Sunday is that science and God are being reconciled. However the earth was created – long version or seven-day version – it was God who engineered the process. Tomorrow has been designated as Earth Day. Even if we are still agnostic about God creating the universe, why would we want to spoil our living space?
What does this caring for the earth have to do with our celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Indeed, is keeping our air and waters clean in any way connected to the suffering of our Lord on the cross and then moving into the Resurrection?
As our hearts sink every time we hear the dying part of the story, so our hearts rejoice when we get to the glorious morning “He is not here!” part of the story. Therefore, we are resurrection people. The dying part happened so that we can be resurrection people. So that we can be assured of our salvation, our place in heaven when we are called. But being resurrection people is more than our eternal salvation. It pertains to our living on this earth among people and nature.
Part of the mystery and the miracles is that even if we do not know the exact past and the exact future, we are still part of the mystery and the miracles. Each one of us matters. As we heard in our Isaiah scripture today about how the new heaven and the new earth will be, it is a model for us to use now as we improve our living habits – both maintaining the earth and maintaining our status as Resurrection people in the kingdom.
In the garden, Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to go to the disciples and proclaim this mysterious miracle that Jesus is alive. Let us go and do the same. May we ourselves live as Resurrection People – accepting our salvation, caring for each other, and caring for our planet on which God planted us. Did I mention our own personal relationship with God? With Jesus? It is the great gift of God through the Son, Jesus. All day every day we can be in communication and communion with Jesus, with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit. Mystery though it may be, it becomes reality to us. Amen