Easter Homily 2018

The Women at the Tomb by Julie Rodriguez Jones

Homily for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday
(Scriptures for the liturgy)

Audio for homily

On entering the tomb the women saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed.”

Oh, how I wish the angel hadn’t told the women,
“Don’t be amazed!”

I’m afraid that might be the one line of scripture
that our age has most seriously taken to heart.

There’s so little left in our lives that amazes us.
We are, if you will, no longer “amazeable.”

Were we amazed at Christmas to remember that the eternal God,
Creator of all that is, took flesh, became a human being,
born a baby, nursing at his mother’s breast
in a barn in Bethlehem?

Were we amazed?

Are we amazed that the baby born in Bethlehem
grew up to be a preacher
and for all his good words and all his good works
and for all his truth and wisdom and miracles
this Cross is what we offered him in return, through our sins,
when we found his words and wisdom
too uncomfortable to live with?
too inconvenient to live by?

Are we amazed every Sunday that in this very place,
in the readings, through our neighbors’ voices,
God speaks to us in the scriptures?
That at least once a week,
God wants to have a word with us,
a sit-down, a chat, a conversation –
to tell us how much he loves us?

Are we amazed at this?

Are we amazed that every Sunday,
the Lord who speaks to us
makes of this altar a table
where we offer the simplest of gifts
which he returns to us as himself, his Body and Blood –
so intimately does he desire to become one with us
that he invites us to consume him?

Are we amazed?

In fact, we’re probably more amazed
by what Google or the latest iPhone can do for us
than by what God offers us every day.

Too often, even regularly,
we have ceased to be amazed by the wonder of faith.
Perhaps it’s because we consider ourselves too sophisticated,
too avant-garde, too knowledgeable and level-headed
to be people of faith?

But if that’s the case, we should be cautious and careful
lest after finding ourselves too advanced for faith
we then find ourselves somehow beyond
hope, somehow beyond love.

How tragic:
that we should be more amazed by the virtual than by the real;
more closely connected wirelessly than personally;
more amazed by gadgets than by God’s presence and power
in our lives.

• Are we amazed that each one of us is a person
uniquely and individually created by God’s design and hand?
• Are we amazed that God knows each of us by name?
• That God new our names before we were conceived?
• That God knows our minds and hearts
better than we know our selves?

• Are we amazed that God wants each of us and every one of us
to have peace - even and especially
when our circumstances frustrate our finding that peace?

• Are we amazed that God walks with us, weeps with us,
laughs with us, hurts with us and reaches out to heal us?

• Are we amazed at the depth of honesty, goodness and generosity
to which God calls every one of us?

• Are we amazed that no matter what we do, no matter what we do,
God will forgive us, freely,
and welcome us back into his embrace?

• Are we amazed that not even death
could keep Jesus from living among us, around us and within us,
always – indeed at this very moment?

Can we, this Easter, be at least a little less jaded,
a little less blasé, a little less skeptical and cynical -
and consider, again, the wonder and beauty of the promise
that there is more to life than what I can know
and understand and touch?

Can you and I pray, this Easter,
to be amazed by what God has done for us
and by what Jesus is doing in our lives
and by what the Spirit promises
to those willing to look at life through eyes of faith,
those willing to look disappointment and even death in the face,
trusting, in faith,
that there is more, that there is so much more
than we might dream or imagine or hope for.

Can we, like the women at the tomb,
be amazed that Jesus rose from the dead and goes ahead of us,
long ago to Galilee
but now to wherever each one of us may go from here:
to home, to work, to school, to our neighborhoods,
to our joys and sorrows, our disappointments and hopes?

Wherever we go, Jesus goes ahead of us.

As your pastor I pray this Easter
that if only for a moment each of us might sit, quietly, with the Lord
- and be amazed at his love for each of us.

Will you and I take a deep breath or two and relax
and be still… be quiet… be at peace…
and know that the Jesus, the risen Lord is near, is here:
beside us, above us, below us, around us, within us -
that the Lord who rose some 2,000 years ago
is with us still?

Come, find the peace within…

Be amazed, this Easter,
that the Risen Jesus isn’t just a story in an old book
but that he lives in your heart, in mine and in our neighbor’s.

Jesus is risen from the dead -  and that’s pretty amazing.


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