Easter Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bainbridge, GA, 5 April 2015
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:1-18
"I have seen the Lord,”
Mary declares in today's Gospel.
I wonder if she shouts "Alleluia"
as she runs to tell the disciples.
What a contrast we hear between the first part of our Gospel, when Mary feels distraught & bewildered at the empty tomb. Notice: she talks to Jesus without recognizing him. We do this when someone speaks to us in a place we don't usually see them or after moving away. We're not quite sure who they are. When the person calls our name, we share the joy of seeing each other again. Friday at the bank drive-thru, a former student pulled into the lane beside me, leaned out his window & called my name. What a joyful chat we had.
When Mary recognizes Jesus, she has a joy-filled reunion & goes to share the Good News with the disciples. This Good News spreads through Peter's testimony that we hear in our lesson from Acts. This Good News continues to be shared from then to now.
We have a share in sharing the Good News that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
We receive everlasting life.
AND we receive fuller life now in Holy Community
– holy common-unity – in the Body of Christ.
This wonderful, life-affirming news of Jesus' life, death & resurrection is news worth sharing. Yes, our 24-7 news causes many to weep, as one author notes in our 2015 Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten meditations1 He goes on to say:
We “Christians are called to offer more than our tears...Weeping requires that we pay attention to the pain of our world...(and take) part in healing our world...Shedding tears over the places in the world that are broken demands that we live & love like Jesus.”2
Jesus' Resurrection gives us confidence to live & love in new ways as we share this Good News.
We have a wonderful story to tell.
It is a story like no other.
How many of you like to read stories? Kids usually select good stories. Anyone have a story for me to read? Come on up & I'll read it. [Read B.J. Novak's The Book With No Pictures.]
This [fun] odd story reflects the puzzlement, dismay & hope for a positive future. The duress of reading it may feel like the stress of sharing the Good News of Jesus. We read in the New Testament that to some folk the Gospel sounds preposterous, even ridiculous.
There are times we may feel like saying to Jesus, "please don't make me say this. I'm uncomfortable talking to people about my faith."
What if you are the only person who can speak God's love in a way that will reach this particular person who doesn't know God's preposterous love for us that willingly dies on the cross so that we can live in love.
As the book says, you are the smartest kids [children of God]. You can do this. You know the truth of the Good News of Jesus' love.
At Baptism you & I have promised to share this story in word & by how we live. As we share the Good News, barren lives transform & blossom with beauty & hope that reflects God's great Love.
Look to this barren,, wire Cross & watch it transform with a simple gesture of love from these children of God [as they place flowers they have brought to beautify it].
Our work sharing God's Love helps
our brothers & sisters in the human family know
the joy of being loved by God.
We can help people know:
God loves you. No exceptions. All are welcome.
All are welcome in this happening
place where we live God's love.
2015 Lenten Meditations. New York: Episcopal Relief & Development. 2014.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. 2da Ed. Nueva York: Sociedad Bíblica Americana. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Lectionary Page. http://www.lectionarypage.net/. Accessed: 2 Feb. 2015.
Merriam-Webster. Smartphone Dictionary app. Merriam-Webster Inc. 2012. Accessed: 14 April 2014.
Novak, B.J. The Book With No Pictures. New York: Penguin Group (USA) LLC. 2014.
Timeline: Trapped Chilean miners. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/13/chile.miners.timeline/index.html. Accessed: 14 April 2014.
1 Bozzuti-Jones, Mark. 2015 Lenten Meditations. P. 53.
2 Ibid. Bozzuti-Jones.