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Morning sermon
The Resurrection of our Lord - Easter Sunday
March 31, 2013
 
Everyone here has a future. Bradley Thomas has a future; we all believe that. After all, he is a healthy, happy, not yet one-year-old boy with great parents and a healthy family; of course he has a future. But that’s not exactly what I’m saying. Everyone else here, with Bradley, has a future to. My mother, who just turned 90, has a future. Pastor Damm, nearly 87 and struggling with diabetes, has a future. Mary McNamara and Fred Sturm, each battling with end-stage cancer, has a future, and all of those resting in our columbarium have a future too. In point of fact, the whole world, the whole creation, and every child of earth, whoever they are and wherever they might gather, has a future. That’s what Easter is all about.

Two thousand years ago, those who killed Jesus — the imperial Roman “powers that be,” and the local “powers that wanna be” colluding with them — were certain that Jesus had no future — on the cross they had decisively ended it — and that, by that same cross they had decisively determined their own future and ours as well. They were certain they had demonstrated this convincingly by executing Jesus in the most public, brutal and humiliating
manner ever devised. But God decided differently; God determined that there must be a future for Jesus and for us; and for the whole world; the whole creation and every child of earth. So God raised Jesus from the dead and determined the future for everyone.

And this is the future for which Christ was raised: Every sickness turned to wholeness. Every silence turned to song. Every sword re-shaped a plowshare. Every shouted “no” drowned out by a whispered “yes.” Every death transformed to life. Everything old made new: “A new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” “A holy city, new Jerusalem, coming from heaven. A loud voice. crying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals…dwelling with them; wiping away every tear from their eyes. Death — no more! Mourning and crying and pain — no more! The first things — passed away.’

That’s what I mean when I say “everyone has a future.” That’s the future publicly announced to all when God raised Jesus from the dead.
Many of us don’t believe that. We’ve drunk the cool aid; we’ve bought the lie. Over and over again we’ve accepted the “evidence” presented by the “powers that be” and that “wanna be” who, down through the ages like those who killed Jesus, want us to accept and even support the status quo: the status quo in which death has the last word; the status quo in which power is wielded exclusively to deny and punish; the status quo in which “no,” “not” and “never” are always spoken, always heard and always obeyed as the last and most definitive word. The status quo in which every diagnosis is terminal; in which every scenario is insufficient; in which hatred and violence and war are inevitable. The status quo in which powerlessness and paralysis define existence.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus’ murderers were certain that by crucifying Jesus they could seal that future and terminate any alternative future God might plan. But God raised Jesus from the dead and guaranteed a different future — a better future — for the whole creation, the whole world and every child of earth; a future that is ours, whether we believe it or not.
Easter is about that future — our future. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ God boldly asserts that Bradley’s future and Betty’s future and John’s future and Mary’s future and Fred’s future and the future of the world and the future of the whole creation and the future of every child of earth is not terminal! Pain will be ended! Graves will be emptied! Tears will be wiped away and death will be no more!

There are whole enterprises dedicated to the proposition that everything is terminal. That we should use up everything — and everyone — now before someone else gets it or before it’s all destroyed. That there is only now; that there is no tomorrow; that worse than no tomorrow, life will only get harder; that this is all pre-determined; that there is nothing that can, should or must be changed; whole enterprises who use that terminal understanding of the future to shape and determine economic, ecological, political, social and judicial decisions that affect every child of earth and the whole creation today.

The most public expressions of this today is an unholy economic, political and religious alliance that stridently trumpets this terminus and yet
more stridently still asserts that this kind of ending, this kind of universal termination is foreshadowed in every tragedy from the bubonic plague to Newtown is the will, the intent and the purpose of a powerful, punitive God.

Listen to Jesus. You won’t hear that. Stand at the foot of the cross. You won’t draw that conclusion. Peer with the women into Christ’s empty tomb. You won’t postulate that terminal future.

Christ’s teaching, Christ’s cross and Christ’s empty tomb unanimously proclaim a different future, a future that is not terminal; a future that is defined, not by death, but resurrection; a future Jesus names and we proclaim as the kingdom of God, among us now. Our task as Christians, our calling as people who believe and trust in that future — in God’s future — is to say “no” to that unholy alliance, stand up to the “powers that be” and that “wanna be” and to confidently work to let that future shape the economic, ecological, political, social, and judicial decisions that affect every child of earth and the whole creation right now.
All of us have that future, a future made public when a brave band of women found an empty tomb and told what some — with their own personal agenda — still call an “idle tale.” Al of us have a future. It is not endless, but it is not terminal. We call our future “resurrection,” and all that we really need to do right now is live it!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia.