Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sermon

What of Christ’s little flock here on earth? What of the people who profess the resurrection but act as if they are dying? Those who have lost faith, those who doubt God, who have given into corruption, wickedness and sin? Surely they are part of the Church much as you or I? Was not Judas one of the Twelve? It becomes easy to despair when pondering the faults, vices, jealousies and strivings that the Church has experienced in her membership of near two-thousand years. At times, the Church certainly appeared dead on the outside, sunken and sallow like a dry tree. Yet one would be greatly amiss and rather ignorant of heavenly things if he truly deemed the Church of God to be dead.

Do we not know, where sin abounded, grace did more abound. (1) Do we know that Christ, when we were weak, died for the ungodly??  Yes, He purchased the Church- and all souls in it, by his own blood. He lay down his life for it while ever-knowing betrayals, divisions, quarrels and scandals would wait! The saint and the Pharisee both He loves… both have their home within His Church. And during starkest times, when all hope seemed lost, did not the Lord cleanse his Church, pull her from the ashes and give life anew? Not by man’s prowess, has the Church endured alongside Christ, but by his Holy Spirit. Just as Christ Jesus was raised not of his own power but that of his Father whom He glorified, the Church is raised from Christ, whom she betrothed. From the cross, Our Lord declared: “It is consummated” This wedding, born of blood, had been destined to wear a crown of glorious resurrection. Whoever lives in the Lord and dies in the Lord shall be raised in the Lord.

The apostle Paul, no stranger to religious evils, speaks for the Church when he says: And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me. (2) The force that steadies a reeling, sinful church also uplifts mortal, sinful men. Sin sets its ugly countenance before us all. The world- and the Church shall always confront this grim face of evil until everything sees final consummation, when Christ comes with glory to crush death beneath his heel once and for ever. What is this hallowed feast about? Why do we come forward to Easter after an arduous, long Lent?

Because He is risen! The once beaten and bruised Savior, bloodied beyond recognition, had died. In a moment, darkness celebrates- but the victory proves short. He that embraced death’s cold arms now marches triumphant from the grave. From His wounds pour a river of strength, from his death flows a fountain of life. If we expect not to undergo the same, our faith is in vain. Because of the resurrection, we can stand fearless before death and evil. Because of the resurrection, we can sing hymns in the darkest pit. Because of this, we march forth, staggering- yet whole, wounded- but not conquered, weeping- yet singing, “alleluia” that ancient, Paschal refrain.  Indeed, among many things, did Christ Jesus tell us: “Be you of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

1)     Romans 5:20
2)     Galatians 2:20

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