Easter Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC, 16 April 2017
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colosssians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18
A bear in bunny clothing!
We all have times when we don't see things quite as they are. Maybe this costumed bear can help us relate to Mary in our Gospel.
I have seen the Lord!
What a contrast we hear between the 1st part of our Gospel, when she feels distraught & bewildered. Notice how she talks to Jesus without recognizing him there at the empty tomb.
Ever do this? Sometimes a person speaks in a place we don't usually see them or after moving away & we're just not sure who they are. Suddenly we recognize them & have a joy-filled reunion.
Once she recognizes Jesus, Mary has a joy-filled reunion & shares the Good News with the disciples. This Good News spreads through Peter's testimony we hear today in Acts.
What a difference we see in Peter who such a short time ago got confused about Jesus washing his feet & then denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus redeems our mistakes.
We have Good News to share:
God loves you. No exceptions!
May we have grace to share this Good News with our brothers & sisters in the human family.
What blessings we have knowing Jesus, knowing forgiveness of our sins & having new life in God's family. Through Baptism we receive forgiveness & are born into Holy Community with each other & God.
Notice what Jesus says in our Gospel. He tells Mary “go to my brothers” & tell them the Good News. The disciples become more than followers: they are brothers. You & I are Jesus' family & we have Good News to share.
Remember: in our Baptismal Vows we promise to seek & serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. We promise to do this with God's help. As our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says in his 2017 YouTube Easter message:
With God's help, we can share the Good News: We live in God's Love. Remember love is the new commandment Jesus gives us:
Love one another as I have loved you.1
Do not be afraid to share it.
God gives us each other as brothers & sisters to work in community, serving where we are as the Body of Christ. We are the hands & feet of Jesus to help our brothers & sisters who do not know God to learn how much God loves them, to know they do not have to struggle alone with life's hard times, to know the joy of forgiveness of sins, the promised resurrection of the body & life everlasting. God's Love makes us strong & able to share, to meet life's challenges, to make a positive difference in the world.
Share the Good News: I have seen the Lord!
Think how you have seen Jesus. . . . .We see Jesus in many ways. Here's one way: Look around. Jesus is sitting “here in plain view”, as lyrics say in John Fischer's song “Jesus My Lord,” which also says:
. . . Have you ever stood in the family with the Lord there in your midst
Seen the face of Christ on each other?
Then I say . . . You've seen Jesus My Lord.
You have seen Jesus. I have seen Jesus.
I see Jesus in the faces of you sitting here right now.
What grace & beauty I see!
Bacon, Ed. 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style. Hatchette Book Group. 2012.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. 2nd Ed. Nueva York: Sociedad Biblica Americana. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
“Jesus My Lord.” Words & Music: John Fischer. http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/gospel-songs-chords/have_you_seen_jesus_my_lord.htm. Accessed: 15 April 2017.
Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suppering, and the Crisis of Faith. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2011.
Mitchell, Leonel L. Lent Holy Week and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide. Lanham, MD: A Cowley Publications Book. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2007.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
1 Which we remember from our Maundy Thursday Liturgy”. BCP P. 275.