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God is such a show-off

God is such a show-off
April 21, 2019
Passage: 1 Cor 15:19-26, Luke 24:1-12
Service Type:

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

That’s from the paschal homily of St. John Chrysostom. Some year I’ll just
read the whole thing.

God is such a show-off.

That’s from Anne Lamott. Anne Lamott is now 65. She got married a
week ago for the first time, three weeks after receiving her Medicare card.

She summed up the confluence of these events by saying “God is such a show-off.”

God is a show-off, every day of the year, but especially on this day when I
think God is showing off particularly for us and for the world God so
passionately loves.

As many of you know, I have a beautiful twenty-two-year-old son, who is
not much of a churchgoer but practices his faith out on the world simply by
being who he is and by how he lives his life. He was raised on Godly Play and
.went to an Episcopal high school and a Jesuit college, so he’s a pretty  literate guy. He recently saw the photo I have as the lock screen on my phone, taken inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, of a domed structure called the Aedicule, built on top of the empty tomb, the tomb from which the stone was rolled away and Jesus raised from the dead…. My son saw this and said: nice photo! Where is that? I told him it was the church built around the empty tomb and he said: Wait! it really happened?? I mean, I know it’s real, but there’s a place where it happened?? Yes, it really happened. I think what happened to my son in that moment is what happens to all of us every once in a while. We get caught off guard, realizing a deeper truth about what we thought we knew all along.

This is the day when God shows off by raising Jesus from the dead, in a
particular time and place, and we get to celebrate it in this time and this place. This is the day when God tramples down death and brings life and hope to everyone we prayed for on Good Friday: the hungry, the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed, the sick and the wounded, those in loneliness, fear and anguish, those beset by temptation, doubt, and despair, the sorrowful and bereaved, prisoners, captives, and those in mortal danger.

This is the day when we know that God hears the cry of the voiceless
ones. This is the day when women are the first witnesses to the resurrection; this is the day when—after a minute—men finally see that women are not telling idle tales, but are telling the truth. (As the bumper sticker says: believe women)

This is the day that gives light and song to our hope and longing,
beginning at 5:05 this morning when we lit the paschal candle and heard the ancient chant of the Exsultet: How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. How blessed is this day, when earth and heaven are joined, and we are reconciled to God.

This is the day when the emptiness of a tomb is a sign of hope, the day
when we no longer look for the living among the dead. This day is an invitation to choose life.

This is the day when we remember that the last enemy to be destroyed is
Death. Death—who feeds insatiably on all of our sins and all the choices we
make that are not choices for life—death is a powerful opponent. Sometimes I look around and it looks like Death is still winning. Earlier this morning in Sri Lanka, 200 people were killed for doing what we’re doing here today. But what we’re seeing are the last taunts of a sore loser, final attempts to lure us away, through despair, doubt, fear, or any means necessary, from all that we love and long for. Death is the final enemy to be conquered; Jesus frees us from the bondage of death. Christians killed simply for being Christian reminds us that death is still with us. But we are not under death’s dominion. Our relationship with death is over, and when we die, life is changed, not ended. I believe this to be true and I pray for it to be true for those killed early this morning. As we sang a few minutes ago, Jesus Christ is risen today, breaking the kingdom of death.

God is such a show-off.

This is the day when we remember that it’s true: God can do anything.
Resurrection is possible for even the most dead parts of our lives, the most cut off and sealed away places in our hearts. Resurrection in some form is possible even for those relationships you might have thought were severed beyond repair. God can calm our fears and soothe our doubts. Not only is God greater than death, God is greater than the spirits that trouble us, discourage us,  divide us. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  for division and  are strong, but God is stronger. Love is stronger. True life is stronger.

This is the day when we renew the solemn vows of Holy Baptism, vows
by which we renounce Satan and all his works, renounce sin and death. Baptism and all it means for our lives and our community is our great yes, I will  with God’s help to God’s invitation to choose life, the life that really is life.

This is the day that begins our 50-day Easter feast. As we begin that feast,
here are some more words from St. John Chysostom’s Paschal Homily:

First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

This is the day to choose life. Alleluia, Christ is Risen!