Saturday, March 22, 2008
Easter Son Rise
Homily to be given on Easter Sunrise 2008 at RUMC in Durham.
We come today still wrapped in the silence of Good Friday, still wrapped in the silence that the words of Jesus left us, still wrapped in the silence of the night. This is the same darkness that the Easter story of John puts us in. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of Jesus while it was still dark. The world around Mary is dark. Their expected king and savior is dead. The events that occurred left the followers of Jesus grieving, miserable and hopeless. Their world is in darkness. John’s Easter story fits us today because our world is also in darkness. We are wretched and miserable. We live in a world of grief, sadness and misery. We live in a miserable world of war, killings, hunger and poverty. Even in our community, the shadows of darkness hover above us. We know of horrible stories about a murdered college student in Chapel Hill and a graduate student in Duke. We know of the sad stories of misguided youth committing crimes. or some of you may be at a point in our lives that all we experience is sadness and grief. Dear friends and families are sick, dying or already went ahead of us. We are stressed in work, school and even in our homes. There is pain and suffering all around. Just like Mary Magdalene who was still sorrowful when she came to the tomb in the gloom of the night, our world and our lives are in darkness.
The story of John does not only give us a picture of a dark world. The characters show us that there is no reason to jump for joy in times of grief. When Peter and the “other disciple” heard the tomb was empty, they ran to the tomb to see. But there was no mention of any jump for joy between the two of them. And to emphasize the setting of the story of John, the author tells us that Mary Magdalene stood there weeping. When we are down and troubled, we could not sing Alleluia. We could only weep. In the silence of darkness, all we could hear is crying.We could only weep and cry in our wretched state. But the story of John do not end in darkness. For the gloom of the night is broken by that ray of sunlight. The silence is broken by the good news of Christ’s resurrection.
The story that begins in darkness does not end in darkness. There is a light that shines. As we come to this Easter worship with darkness around us, we will leave with the sun risen and the light scattered throughout. For indeed, the Son of God is risen and he has scattered light throughout the darkness of our lives. That is the good news my brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ is risen and alive and he lives forevermore. Darkness is illumined. The silence is broken. And our weeping is turned into singing alleluia. The risen Jesus Christ is our light. Jesus brings light into our dark world, he brings joy into our sad hearts, he brings hope in our despair and he gives us life after death.
John’s Easter story gives us the proper perspective of Easter. However many times we may encounter darkness in our lives, we do not despair for we know that the sun rises every morning, the Son of God conquered darkness and he will be our light. And because the risen Lord is alive forevermore, Easter do not only need to happen once a year. The risen Christ will always be our light. We no longer fear darkness, we no longer fear silence, we no longer weep because we know that whenever there is darkness in our lives, there will be Easter. We can always sing alleluia for Christ will always be our light. Know that even in darkness, Easter will happen. And the risen Christ will always illumine our world, our homes and our lives. And even in darkness we can sing Alleluia, Alleluia Christ is risen!
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spririt. Amen.