Sermons on light
So let us, in our age, in our part of the ongoing salvation history between God and God’s people— a love affair, really— do what our foremothers did once they got a grip: proclaim the Good News. Let us go to whatever Galilee we find ourselves in to seek out the risen Lord who has gone before us. Let us do as he asks. Let us dispel the darkness in his name and thereby illuminate the Kingdom coming into this world.
There was another party going on in town that night. One where the rejected, the tired, the weary, the lonely, the ones who mourn, the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers were gathered, where the healing love of Jesus flowed through and around them, where they anointed each other, maybe not with expensive oil, but with tears of joy, for Jesus was with them. The church shows up, our church shows up when we readily offer ourselves and our resources to each other, when we ask the question, “What do you need?” or “How can I support you in the cold dark night, where fear and trembling settle in upon your soul and weigh you down like a heavy down comforter, almost making it difficult to breath?” The church shows up, our church shows up, when we acknowledge our vulnerability before God and each other, or when we acknowledge that we can’t be prepared for everything, and instead chose to trust that it is Jesus who opens the door, invites us in, and prepares the feast.
Jesus stands in prayer a few yards away. And as he reaches his hands up to God, his face is transfigured. A strange, but beautiful glow. And his clothes, they are transformed too. They now dazzle as if the weaver had captured lightning, blended it with the fabric, and woven it into the garment. And then, as if this was not enough supernatural phenomena for one day, the Hebrew lawgiver, Moses, and the greatest of the prophets, Elijah, emerge from nowhere and converse with Jesus. What a day it was.
Silence can be a faithful response to listening to Jesus, if it causes us to listen more closely to others. Silence can be a faithful response to listening to Jesus if the silence shapes and strengthens our own voice to speak out more strongly against injustice. Silence can be a faithful response to listening to Jesus if it helps us attend to the words placed upon our hearts by God, which refuse to go away, and which pull us into our true selves and toward our vocation. Silence can be a faithful response to listening to Jesus’ voice if our holy hush is due to reverence and remembrance of the glory of God overpowering our hearts and souls.
We must sit in the tomb for a bit first, allowing our silence to stretch the space within us, where the voice of God can resonate. To sit into the tomb, we must first answer God’s invitation to allow God to remove the large stone at the entrance of our heart. The women in our story spent a lot of time wondering about how they were going to move the large stone from the tomb entrance, without bringing along resources to help with its removal. Perhaps they knew God would open the entrance for them. Our stone, at the entrance to the tomb of our heart, must also be removed, so that we can walk ever more deeply into the place where the unimaginable will be revealed to us. The unimaginable peace which can enter our hearts when we’re dealing with a difficult situation; the unimaginable resolve to forgive someone who has deeply hurt or betrayed us; the unimaginable release of someone we love to her physical death so their spiritual resurrection can be with us now.
Lent is a time of repentance and decision. Let us decide to offer the worst of ourselves to the healing love of Christ, so we may be made whole; so we may life into all which God created us to be, for we can trust, that as God’s beloved was put to death upon the cross, beneath it all is the pulsing of God’s steadfast love. We are saved from our sins FOR life, not from death, but for life. Let us see the face of Christ peering through our brokenness, showering us with love, inviting us into all goodness, and making us whole
The work, I believe, we bring to scripture texts is to find within the spoken or written words, that which both comforts and that which challenges us. We want our relationship with God to be rooted in God’s everlasting and intimate love of us, which we search for and find in our scriptures, and we want our lives: our actions, beliefs, and feelings, to be challenged, so we can live the gospel faithfully within community.
Some of us may be on our road to Emmaus, walking in that darkness, waiting for the light to shine. Our horizon may be very bleak at the moment. And yet, our story reminds us that even in, or especially in, those gray and black places of our lives, Jesus walks besides us.