St Barnabas, Norwich VT
Sermon by Rev. Jennie M Anderson
Lord, make us stewards of ourselves, that we may be servants of others, Take my words and speak through them, take our minds and think through them, take our hearts and set them on fire, for Jesus’ sake. Amen. Good morning! Welcome!
Some people say the Resurrection is about joy, others say hope; I appreciate the way Marcus Borg calls it "God's yes to Jesus and God's no to the powers that be"--the empires of violence, injustice and greed that try to rule our lives today just as they killed Jesus long ago. But God, Borg reminds us, said no to all that and yes to Jesus. Jesus, who told us that everyone would know that we are his followers if we love each other. I think we can say that the Resurrection is about joy, yes, and hope, and most of all, love. One Easter Sunday, a guest preacher, during the children's message, had valiantly attempted to explain the Resurrection to a group of very young children. I don't remember what they said, but clearly it went right over, or around, their heads. I'll never forget how frustrated one member was by that sermon. I can still hear her New England-accented voice: "The one lesson we need to teach children at that age," she said emphatically, "is that God loves them. They don't need to understand all the technicalities when they're little; they just need to hear, in many different ways, that God loves them so much." Isn't that what we need to hear at every age, not just when we're young? [Kate Matthews]
When children hear the story and know that God loves them, they have a chance… a chance to have their own personal power to start a movement. Or perhaps better put, to continue the movement that Jesus started. From the power of love comes the possibility to defeat the love of power. Children who know that God loves them, be they young children or God’s child in the body of someone who has been on the planet for 97 years, like our beloved Trudy Nicholson… At any all ages, when we know that God loves us, deep in our soul, together we can change the world and bring a better vision of God’s love alive!
How do we do this? Well, often it is through unexpected ways and unforeseen opportunities. The very specific ways we do this is quite simple. We love one another by noticing and then listening to each other and offering support and encouragement. We pray for each other to the God that loves us and pray for the highest good to be given to even those we hate, especially those we hate. We give up a little bit of our time and talent and show up for somebody else. We tell each other the story of God’s love over and over and over again, and we sit and be ready to hear that same story told by another… These are very simple acts of love. They make a difference. They and many more acts of love come from this same story of hope and resurrection.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry has shared a story about the Easter event. He started out by saying that it’s taken him some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.
Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacred-making love. That’s why he entered Jerusalem. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.
God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.
He didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God. On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins. [The Most Rev Michael Curry]
Some people say the Resurrection is about joy, others say hope; I appreciate the way Marcus Borg calls it "God's yes to Jesus and God's no to the powers that be"--the empires of violence, injustice and greed that try to rule our lives today just as they killed Jesus long ago. But God, Borg reminds us, said no to all that and yes to Jesus. Say yes to love in your heart and in the world. Happy Easter!
Let us pray. Resurrecting God, you conquered death and opened the gates of life everlasting. In the power of the Holy Spirit, raise us with Christ that we, too, may proclaim healing and peace to the nations. Amen.