April 01, 2008

Looking Ahead to April 6, 2008 -- 3rd Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-10
  • Psalm 116 (VU p. 836)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 1 Corinthians 15: 35-44
  • From the Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

The Hymns this week are:

  • 382 Breathe on Me Breath of God
  • 182 Stay with Us Through the Night
  • 183 We Meet You, O Christ (tune??)
  • 586 We Shall Go Out With Hope of Resurrection

The Sermon title is New Life, Changed Life

Early Thoughts: Resurrection is more than resuscitation, it is transformation. Maybe that is part of why it is so hard to see?

One of the striking points of the appearance stories is how often Jesus' friends don't recognize him after the Resurrection. In John's account Mary mistakes him for the gardener, in this passage from Luke he is seen as simply another anonymous traveler on the road. There is a message there. There is a hint that there is something transforming about resurrection, where what is raised is not really the same as what has died.

Last week we talked about the seed that falls into the ground and dies to be reborn. That is indeed an old and wonderful metaphor for the Easter event. But, like all metaphors, it is limited. The limit of the seed metaphor is that a seed will always give the plant from which it came. One doesn't plant a sunflower and expect to get tomatoes (or if you do, prepare to be disappointed). In someways that is what Resurrection is. But in someways it isn't. There is transformation in the seed, but the transformation of Resurrection can be far deeper.

This week I am thinking of the butterfly. AS a child I remember having trouble believing that butterflies and caterpillars were the same animal (at least when I was first told -- I did catch on eventually). There is certainly a link between the two but the transformation is total. The end result looks little like the beginning. In my mind this is a side to resurrection we need to remember more often.

When we pray for resurrection to be made real in our lives we need to remember that we are praying to be transformed. The new life is a changed life. And yes, we do need to be changed to be resurrected. What would that type of resurrection mean in our world today? How do we embrace it?

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