The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
- From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 9:1-20
- Psalm 30 (VU p.757)
- From the Gospel: John 21:1-19
The Hymns will be:
- 217 All Creatures of Our God and King
- 703 In the Bulb There Is a Flower
- 186 Now the Green Blade Rises
- 427 To Show By Touch and Word
The Sermon title is: The Earth's Easter
Early Thoughts: The challenge of Easter is that it calls us to embrace transformation. Easter is that event that changes the world for the early followers of "the Way" as they were called (the term Christian is a later addition). The experience of the Risen Christ turns the disciples from scared people hiding from the authorities into bold evangelists telling all they meet about what they have experienced. Paul's vision on the roadside turns him from vehement persecutor of the followers of Jesus into an evangelist who helped shape the developing Christian faith.
To this day Easter challenges us to be transformed. In the light of Easter Sunday, in the shadow of the empty tomb, we are pushed to allow ourselves, our priorities and our lifestyles to be changed -- sometimes changed drastically.
Every year people pause in mid-April to honour Earth Day. This day is a time to reflect on the state of the world around us. The signs of our impact on the environment are unmistakable. The cost of changing (or not changing) our way of living is hotly debated in terms of economics and "quality of life". But this year I am mulling on the question: What does/might Easter look like for the Earth? If we allow ourselves to be transformed what might that mean for the Earth?
In theological language, to make a real difference environmentally speaking will take repentance. Repentance is more than simply saying sorry, to repent is to turn away/turn around. Making a difference will also mean taking a risk. It will mean risking that the economy will struggle as we change not only our own attitudes but the way business is done. It may mean that there will be job losses as industry resets itself (which could also mean job gains as new technologies come on-line). But the hardest part is that first step, the step of turning away from the known.
Peter knew how to fish. He had worked all night and caught nothing. But then some voice tells him to do things differently. Many of us might have told Peter to give up, the fish weren't there. Why let someone else tell him how to do his job? But Peter took a chance. He did something differently and ended up with more fish then the boat could handle. Easter is something like that. Easter is God calling out to us, saying that we need to see things differently,to do things differently. How will we respond?
It is spring in the Northern Hemisphere. IT is a time of new life and new possibilities. Apart from tulips and crocuses bursting out of the frozen soil, what will this Easter mean for the Earth? What transforming visions are waiting for us along the roadside?