Posts tagged “Resurrection of Our Lord

The Resurrection of Our Lord—Easter Day 2017

Posted on April 18th, 2017

The Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter Day St. Mark 16:1-8 April 16, 2017 Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia On Friday, the weeping women heard His last words. “It is finished,” Jesus said, and they believed Him. It’s all over. You’ve heard those words. “Finish them!” the coach shouts, when the opponent is on the ropes. “You’re finished!” says the boss, as you get fired. “We’re finished!” she snarls, ending the relationship. “It is finished,” Jesus said. They believed Him. It’s all over. Death wins. So early in the morning, they do their duty. The women go to serve a dead Jesus. They show love and devotion. Yet hope is lost. They believe the jeers from Friday. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” …

Sermo Dei: The Resurrection of Our Lord 2016

Posted on March 27th, 2016

  Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Three years ago, an article in the New York Times described Easter this way: “Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus.” Now if you didn’t catch what was wrong with that, I’m not entirely surprised. It’s how most people think today, even many who go to church: the body dies, the spirit floats off to heaven. That is not Easter. That is not resurrection. That’s just the old Platonic philosophy masquerading as Christianity. Did you know that the Hebrew Bible makes very little distinction between what we would call the “soul” and…

Sermo Dei: The Resurrection of Our Lord 2015

Posted on April 5th, 2015

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! “On Saturday we kill the Jews, on Sunday we kill the Christians.” That’s an Islamist motto, which Lela Gilbert explores in her book Saturday People, Sunday People. Christians are known as Sunday People, and all around the world the Sunday People are facing violent persecution. On Holy Thursday, 147 holy martyrs were killed in Kenya. A survivor said that when the terrorist group al-Shabaab stormed the university, they began separating the Muslims from the Christians. “If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot. With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die” ( If you read the accounts of Christian martyrs through the centuries, you will find in them a beautiful…

Sermo Dei: Easter Sunday 2014

Posted on May 12th, 2014

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!   What hope does the world offer you? Philosopher Richard Rorty offers us hope in humanity’s progress: “Because of human beings’ gradual success in making their lives, and their world, less wretched,” humans now no longer need to find meaning by looking “beyond nature to the supernatural, and beyond life to an afterlife”; they need only look “beyond the human past to the human future” (Philosophy and Social Hope, 162). That’s the hope philosophy offers: make the world “less wretched.” What do you hope for? What is your hope in? C.S. Lewis recounts a conversation with a young lady. “Aren’t you worried about death?” “Oh no,” she replies. “By the time I’m old enough for…

Death: suspension of the law of nature

Posted on April 16th, 2014

My mother sent me this quotation from Flannery O’Connor. I don’t know the source, but it’s beautiful: The virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection . . . are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of those laws. . . . [It] would never have occurred to human consciousness to conceive of purity if we were not to look forward to a resurrection of the body, which will be flesh and spirit united in peace, in the way they were in Christ. The resurrection of Christ seems the high point in the law of nature.

Jeering, hitting, and abusing the deposed tyrant

Posted on April 2nd, 2013

Now that the Savior has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, but all those who believe in Christ tread it underfoot as nothing, and prefer to die rather than to deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die they do not perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the resurrection…. Death has become like a tyrant who has become completely conquered by the legitimate monarch; bound hand and foot as he know is, the passers-by jeer at him, hitting him and abusing him, no longer afraid of his cruelty and rage, because of the king who has conquered him. So has death been conquered and branded for what it is by the Saviour on the cross. St…

Corruption has been banished

Posted on April 1st, 2013

Now that the common Saviour of all has died on our behalf, we who believe in Christ no longer die, as men died afore time, in fulfillment of the threat of the law. That condemnation has come to an end; and now that, by the grace of the resurrection, corruption has been banished and done away, we are loosed from our mortal bodies in God’s good time for each, so that we may obtain a better resurrection. Like seeds cast into the earth, we do not perish in our dissolution, but like them shall rise again, death having been brought to nought by the grace of the Saviour. St Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Sermo Dei: The Resurrection of Our Lord

Posted on April 1st, 2013

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!   The dirt was still wet with blood as a mother wept. How had everything gone so wrong? Not many decades earlier, the world was innocent. Not the way we look back on earlier times and think, “Things were simpler then.” No, the world once truly was innocent, and this mother remembered it. It seemed like a dream now, or rather her life had become a nightmare. She had met her husband while still a little girl. Now, as she sobbed, she leaned against that husband for support. When she had first seen him, those many years ago, it was love at first sight. He was perfect for her, the only man in the world.…

Sermo Dei: Great Vigil of Easter 2013

Posted on March 30th, 2013

Promises. Life is littered with broken ones. “Do you swear to tell the truth?” “Will you uphold the constitution?” “Will you, forsaking all others, remain united to this woman alone, so long as you both shall live?” “Will you serve faithfully as a pastor in this place?” Everywhere we look, including the depths of our heart, we see the shattered remnants of promises broken. Tonight, we heard the most serious kind of promises: promises made to and before God: “Do you renounce the devil?” “Do you intend to live according to the Word of God?” Will you “suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from [this confession]?” I hope you keep these promises. But even the Christian who appears most pious hides dark…

Easter thoughts from the cutting room floor

Posted on March 30th, 2013

Sorting through my old notes in Scrivener, I came across this unused bit intended for the 2011 Easter sermon.  My beloved grandmother saved twist-ties and little scraps of tinfoil and many other things that I regarded to be of little or no value. It all had to be thrown away when our family moved her to an apartment after my grandfather died. My mom explained to me that she had lived through the depression, and that experience caused her to be very frugal and save everything. Now, in our culture of excess, we recklessly throw things away. Experiencing the Great Depression, or simply a time of poverty, would definitely change a person’s outlook on how things are valued. The same is true for Easter…