Sermon for Resurrection Sunday 2020
What an amazing picture our collect for the day has painted:
You transformed the tomb of death
Into the womb of new life
This leads me to think about Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus about being born again, and here we have the very image we need. Jesus died, and then rose, or was reborn, into new life. In doing this, Jesus paved the way for us to die (to the flesh, to sin, to pride, to self-centredness) and to be reborn into a life with Him. A life that is so full of abundance, a life with so much promise and hope. A life lived, not for self, but for others, and especially for God. This is the same symbolism Paul uses when he talks about baptism. When we are under the water, we die to sin, and when we emerge from the water, we are born again, into new life, into which the Spirit breathes abundant life.
For the younger folk I have this illustration (magic tricks).
Jesus was not to be found in the tomb, he was, and continues to be, alive and walking among his creation. However, many of us are like Mary. Mary steps out of the tomb, and sees a man whom she assumes to be the gardener, and she asks of him where they have taken Jesus body. Jesus responds and only then does Mary recognise him. In the same way, we may see Jesus, but not recognise him. The world is in this situation too, very much so, in fact. The world may see Jesus, but does not recognise him.
Allow me to explain. The world not recognising Jesus is the easier part, because we, who are the body of Christ, do not always love in such a way that Jesus is present and visible. We, even pastors and priests, are often so self-centred that Christ cannot be seen in, or even through us. How is the world to see Christ when his image is suppressed, when his image is placed behind our masks? I will let you ponder on how the world does not see Christ when we say one thing and live another.
As for us not recognising Christ. We see many “co incidences” in our lives, but I refer to these as “God incidences” God, or Christ, working in our lives so that all things work to the good of those who love him. What about the angels who call to check in on us, the Barnabas ministry? The pastoral care team who do small, yet life-giving things for folk in the parish. Each one of these is the body of Christ caring for, loving you.
In our speech and attitude too, we should be the body of Christ visible in the world. Another way in which Christ can be made viible is when we share the hope that we have, hope for better things to come, like the new Jerusalem, and even hope in the lives we now live, in that we have no fear of death, sin does not have a hold on us, and love flows in abundance.
Christ is risen, he is risen indeed. Through us the risen Christ continues to make his dwelling among his people. Pray with me – Lord let me decrease so that you may increase. Let the world see the risen Christ in me today, and every day. Amen.