徒10:34-43; 詩118:14-19; 西3:1-4; 路24:1-10
Being Raised with Christ
—A sermon for the Sunday of Resurrection: Easter Day
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:14-29; Col 3:1-4; Luke 24:1-10
By The Rev. Paul Xie+
Alleluia. Christ is risen. [The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.]
Two weeks ago, I led Young Adults Group Bible Study at which the topic we discussed was Resurrection. The reasons why I chose this topic were not only we were on the pilgrimage towards Easter in the Lent but also we heard so called “Easter Hoopla” again. During the Lent, the Discovery Channel played DVD The Lost Tomb of Jesus; and thousands people have joined the discussion about the topic in the Discovery website.
It reminds me of the former “Easter Hoopla” happened six years ago when an article by Jeffrey Overstreet was published in the periodical Christianity Today (April 26 2001), entitled Jesus' Remains Found in Israel. This article is a film review on movie The Body that is an invented story about the apparent discovery of Christ’s decidedly unresurrected bones. Such as “Easter Hoopla” challenges our Christian faith and hope. In his article, Jeffrey Overstreet asks: Is your faith in carbon dating and archaeology, or in the promises of Holy Scripture? For me, I would rather quote today’s Gospel to say to the “Easter Hoopla” makers, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!” As today’s Psalm says, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Do not look for the living among the dead but look for the living among the living; as saying, “What we see in the Resurrection is our lives transformed.” Last night, the Great Vigil, fourteen people were baptized. The Great Vigil of Easter is the biggest day in the Church calendar for Baptism. The Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer says, “The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.” As St. Paul says, we have been baptized into Christ Jesus’ death, “So that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
If the Lord isn’t risen, the baptism would be nonsensical, we mightn’t walk in newness of life, and we are the most miserable of all men; And, indeed, if He was not risen the Apostles and all the Saints would have done nothing, we would have been nothing and have had nothing.
I have a story from one of my friends to share with you here. The story is entitled The Jewish Grandma and God. Once upon a time an elderly Jewish lady lived by the seaside. Nearby her beloved little grandson lived with his family. The lady loved to walk along the beach with her grandson where she would stop and talk to strangers and boast of the grandson’s beauty and brightness. One day while walking along the beach with him, a huge wave came ashore and swept the boy out to sea. The grandmother fell to her knees, and she cried and beat her breast with grief. A crowd gathered and saw the old lady raise her eyes toward the heavens and shout, “God, why?! Oh, why, have you taken my innocent little grandson?” She continued on and on with her inconsolable weeping and chastising of God. Then, all of a sudden, another wave deposited the little boy, wet, but otherwise none the worse for wear, on the beach. The grandmother hugged him thankfully and looked him over, up and down, to see that he was all right. Then, her face changed again from joy to challenge, and she again raised her head to address God. She said: “So . . . where’s his hat?”
The story tells us, sometimes even though people have been born anew like the returned young boy, they are still looking for and want to bring back the old things taken away, as the grandma looked for the lost hat. In today’s epistle, Colossians, St. Paul says: “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
If the risen Lord is with us, our lives must be renewed and transformed; we will seek the things that are above and then people see the Resurrection among us. If we have been really raised with Christ, we are the living. Look for the living among us! You can find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us, which are the work of the risen Lord and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Then those who are looking for the risen Lord will say, look, the Risen Lord is here; the Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
In the name of God, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.