Sacred Soil


Yes.
March 31, 2013, 10:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Easter

Acts 10:34–43
Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24
1 Corinthians 15:19–26
Luke 24:1–12

This is the story of yes. God’s yes. God’s yes in a world that seems hell bent on no.

Though, to be honest with you, sometimes “no” is easier. Easier to understand, easier to take, easier to settle in to. Easier to believe.

Here’s that story, the story of No:

The tomb is empty because his body was stolen.
The tomb is empty because he was eaten by wild dogs.
The tomb is empty because they’d come to the wrong place.

The specifics may vary, but it’s pretty easy to do. Easy to rest into. To say “no.” Saying No requires nothing of us. We simply push the offending thought from our mind. Solve the cognitive dissonance. These women were mistaken. Because, Resurrection, well, that doesn’t make any sense.

And it doesn’t.

We like to make sense. It is simpler that way. We like things to move logically, from cause to affect. We believe the statistics. The math. The finality of death.

You’ve heard this no. Indeed, for many of us the sound of no reverberates across our hearts.

  • Heard in the sounds of rejection,
  • in the balance of our bank accounts.
  • in bad news from doctors.
  • as the statisticians tell us about the grim future for the church.

This no is heard in every moment that tries to narrow our future, hem us in. Strip away our identity, the very center of our being, with claims its claims of inevitability. The assurance there is no escape.

Over and over again, the world says “no.” This cannot be done. It will not be. And so often it seems it is better to merely take our lumps and rest into the narrow reality of no. Of impossibility.

But I know that I am standing now in a room full of folks who aren’t all that concerned with this resounding chorus of “No.” I am in a room of folks who resist that catchy tune, the siren song of, “that’s never gonna happen.”

Now, we’re not always that good at it. We here get lulled in, just like anyone else, the tune of “no” sounding strong in our ears, catching us like an earworm. The “no” so subtle and familiar, it fades and becomes as background music in our lives, slowly sucking our hope away.

But, we do know something different here. We know what it is to hear “yes.” We know what it is to believe that the impossible can happen, and that indeed it does. Over and over again. Because we’ve seen it.

On that day, when the women went to the tomb with their spices and burial perfumes, they had expectations. They knew what they were looking for—the great big “no” from Rome. The “no” that declared their beloved teacher dead. But. instead, they encountered a “yes”. An unexpected, loud, incomprehensible “yes.” Spoken in resounding words—reverberating against their memories, against this man they had known. And they knew, they knew in their hearts, that against all possibility, it was true.

God said, “yes.”

God said “yes” because our God will not take “no” for an answer. Not yours, not mine, not Rome’s, nor any political machine, or anything that thrives on the narrowness of human depravity. God says “yes,” over and over again. Indeed, our God keeps on ushering in the kingdom, despite all odds.

This is what we learned again in our Easter Vigil last night. God’s salvation history is a tune played throughout time. The melody that carries us through. This Easter morning is not a strange new creation, but rather an echo of Noah, and Jonah, of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. It is an echo of the promise that we will each be given a new heart. It is a resounding chorus of God’s yes, magnified by all the other yeses we know in history. The yes given to us in our own baptism. This is the joy our trumpets sound.

God will keep on ushering in the kingdom, over and over again.

Even if it kills God.

And it did.

Do you see it? Do you see this yes?

  • It is in this community that celebrates the spirit of each one gathered here.
  • It is in the triumphs of those who declare: I will live fully, embracing the wounds I’ve born.
  • It is in the people who are so passionate about the education of our children in this community—the people who believe, who know, justice is possible.
  • It is in the hard work of those who painted, who cleaned, who cooked, to help revitalize the fellowship hall. Echoing a “yes” that declares something amazing can happen here.
  • It is in our youth and their parents who worked so hard to make Easter breakfast happen.

This “yes” becomes a resounding chorus, drowning out the slow din and dirge of “no.” This “yes” names the kingdom of God breaking in around us—surprising us far beyond our capacity to anticipate, to measure, to predict with simple statistics.

And here’s the yet more beautiful thing about this “yes,” about this resurrection… it is growing up everywhere. In the places you know, but most assuredly in places unexpected—like a tomb just outside Jerusalem.

There are “yeses” yet to be discovered, like the softening warmth of spring, creeping into places unexpected. And now, it is our joy, our great privilege, to discover this yes anew, seeking the green blade that rises from the buried grain. Seeking this new life, this yes in the outcast, in the one we have judged. The one we have despised. The one we have shunned.

Because this very same yes, is poured on us. The yes that brought us to new life in our own baptism. The yes that poured over our heads, we too, who once were dead, have now been raised to God’s resounding and overpowering yes.

Amen.


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