Sermons 2007
""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Easter C 2007 Luke 21:1-12

I think that gardeners have a faith in resurrection implanted in their bones because of their experience with it. Consider not only the general greening of the earth in Springtime – around Eastertide every year in fact – but also how certain specific plants teach us about resurrected life. First come the crocus, early heralds of spring. Then tumbling one after another come daffodils and forsythia, racing to see which first brightens the earth with their glorious yellow and white flowers. Chrysanthemum beds begin to promise glorious blossoms as new growth is birthed at the base of the stalks that have stood dead and dry all winter. This resurrection goes on all summer as azaleas and roses and daisies and so much more burst into bloom through late spring. The signs of resurrection are all around us through the summer until finally the crepe myrtles leaf on their dead looking branches and burst into a riot of glorious bloom and color. It’s as if the whole earth were singing with the joy of Easter. Like the rainbow, it is a sign from the God who loves us.

It may be so commonplace in our every year experience that we fail to notice it in its full significance. Certainly on that day almost two thousand years ago when at early dawn the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb they did not notice the flowers in the garden around the tomb. They were coming to perform a last sad duty for the master whom they loved, the teacher who had tried to teach them so much, the rabbi who had come to fulfill the law, who set forth the great summary of the Law.

And certainly they did not expect to see what it was that they actually saw. As the morning light began to brighten they were dumbstruck to see the heavy stone rolled away from the tomb that had been chiseled and dug into the hillside of the garden cemetery. Stunned really, they were. What had happened in the night? Where were the guards? How could this be? Who moved the stone? It was frightening, too unexpected, to new, this new world that the open and empty tomb represented.

They had forgotten – or perhaps never really believed what Jesus had told them. He had said he would die, be crucified, and buried. But he had assured them that he would rise from the dead in three days. And he had shown them the divine power over death in the raising of Lazarus – they were there, they had seen it. But they hadn’t really believed it. There had to be some rational explanation for this raising from the dead. Many possibilities had been suggested to them by skeptics hostile to Jesus and the Good News that he was preaching and bringing.

Recovering for the moment, they went into the tomb. Where was his body? It wasn’t there. The tomb was empty. For them the earth shook into a deep stillness at that moment. The sudden silence in the tomb and the garden outside was deafening. Everything was wrong with their world. Nothing was normal. They were perplexed, confused, and not a little frightened. There were no explanations, there was no comfort in the moment, no, not at all.

And then wind was felt in the tomb, wind filled with a power like the breath of God speaking in the still small voice to Elijah in his cave, to Jonah inside the great fish, to Moses on the mountainside beside the burning bush, to Abraham and Sarah outside their tents. And suddenly, indeed immediately, within the divine wind were two men, brightly clad in dazzling clothes, men whose faces and clothes filled the tomb with light and power. They spoke: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”

In a powerful and dramatic contemporary painting of by Frank Wesley, Easter Morning, the scene is of the women hurrying to the tomb in the dim gray light of early morning. In her sorrow, one woman has thrown her gold braceleted arm around another who carries a jar of spices. Their eyes show them looking straight ahead to the tomb. Just behind them stands the risen Christ, but they are unaware of him. If only they would turn to look and see who is there with them, their sorrow would turn into gladness. (Sermon ideas for Luke 14:1-12, part 5,

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Only then did their eyes begin to see the mystery of the Resurrection. Only then did their minds recall what he had said about his dying and rising again. Only then could they tell the eleven and all the rest. Only then did the earth move again, the light of day brighten, life continue, the future become possible. Only then did they believe the Good News. Only then.

And we – do we also seek the living among the dead? Do we too forget what he said? Do we remember that he is not there in the tomb but is risen?