Sunday, April 26, 2020

Resurrections Ever Present

PROPERS:          EASTER 3, YEAR A    
TEXT:                 LUKE 24:13-35            

This is a meditation and not a sermon.

ONE SENTENCE:        The resurrection is not a singular event, but a sign for life as Christians as we face challenges.  

            Today is my first worship service back with you after an absence of four Sundays.  I am delighted to be with you again.

            We are in the midst to two competing seasons:  the Great 50 Days of Easter, and the pall of a strange season which prevents us from being together.  This is an unusual time. Something we have never seen before.

            We can identify with the two men walking from Jerusalem to the village from Emmaus on that first Easter Day.  They were feeling bereft of the loss they had sustained.  They were grieving for the death of hope.  Jesus, their respected rabbi, had been crucified.  “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel,” they confessed to the stranger walking with them.

            Along the way, they poured out their hearts and hopes.  The stranger listened, and then offered a different perspective.  It was a perspective of eternal hope – of God’s work in the moment to redeem the world.

            The resurrection was right before them.  And it was not evident to them until the stranger – the risen Christ – broke the bread at their table.

            We tend to see the resurrection as a singularis eventus – a one-time event, never repeated. But I would contend that resurrections – great and small – take place through time, and throughout life.

            Julian of Norwich is an excellent example.  She was reared and lived in Norwich in the 14th Century, in the County of Norfolk, in east central England.

            Her life was marked by a dramatic epidemic – the Black Death – which claimed one-third of the people of her hometown.  She also endured the Peasants’ Revolt, which was an uprising of common people against the ruling authorities.

            Acting on her deep faith, she became an anchoress – a lay religious life which separated her from the world around her.  She spent her life in prayer, devotion, and service.

            That is, until she was 30 years old.  Then she developed a devastating illness and actually had last rites said for her.  But as the deacon, presiding, held the crucifix before her, she began having a series of 16 visions that told her of the love of God.

            She recovered and recorded those profound visions in a book known by the title, Revelations of Divine Love. It is the oldest book written by a woman in the English language.

            From the midst of a near-death experience, she found hope and the love of God. These are the words which are most notable from those visions: “All shall be well; and all shall be well; and all manner of things shall be well.”

            In the midst of the difficulty of life – and surrounded by illness and revolt – Julian found the resurrection.

            And you and I can find it, too.  Resurrection is over, under, around, and through all aspects of life.  It can be as readily apparent – and we can miss it – as the men on the road to Emmaus came to realize.

            Our experiences – in this current epidemic or in other circumstances – may require waiting more than three days.  But we can rest assured that mini-resurrections – both mini and many, in your life and mine – have taken place, and will take place, if we are willing to be patient and allow God to do the work required.