Saturday, March 26, 2016

"No Idle Tale" Easter Vigil 2016

“No Idle Tale”, Year C Easter Vigil 2016, March 26, 2016
St. Thomas’ Episcopal, Richmond, VA
Genesis 1:1-2:4a, Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-2, Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18, Isaiah 55:1-11, Ezekiel 36:24-28, Psalm 42, Romans 6:3-11, Luke 24:1-12
“No Idle Tale” from Luke 24:11
Luke 24:11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

This night the universe holds its breath, with all creation straining to see physics shattered and entropy reversed. Is what was promised coming to be? Over and over he promised, “and after three he days shall rise again.” Will it be? Can it be?

I was not there when when he breathed again, his cold, dead flesh bringing in the breath of life. I was not there when took off the wrappings of the tomb. I was not there when he folded them up and placed them on the cold, dark stone. I was not there when the rounded stone doorway rolled away. I was not there. But I believe it happened.

I was not there when he felt the dew on his pierced feet. I was not there when the rays of light broke over the horizon and he saw not just a new day beginning, but something altogether new. A new age. A new Adam. I was not there when the women were searching for answers, when he told them what was to happen all along. I was not there, but their faith was handed down to me.

I was not there when he walked with the followers on the way to Emmaus. I was not there when he explained the Scriptures, detailing how all that had taken place was what was meant to be. No accidents had transpired in Jerusalem that week. I was not there when he was invited in, and broke bread. I was not there when the followers’ eyes were opened. I was not there, but I believe it took place.

I was not there at the foundation of the world when God put everything in order and called it good. I will not be there at the end when all things will be worked together and once again declared good. I reside in the in-between, when all the good and all the bad and all the God and all the us are intermingled and are a mixed-up, messed-up botch. And on this night, we await to see if what is promised will come true.

God, who began this good work, will be faithful to complete it. And we, with all creation, holding our breath, will see in fullness and truth. Our faith will no longer have to be faith, because we will see with our own eyes. We will see face to face.

Tonight as we remember what came before, and made promises of our own, renewed baptismal promises, we claim to be a part of this story, the beginning, the middle and the end.

St. Paul reminded us in our reading from Romans: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into 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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:3-5)
We come tonight knowing the rest of the story. But it is not boring or redundant. We keep photo albums to remember the treasures of our lives. And tonight as we wade through the Scriptures, from Creation to re-Creation, we look to the story, HIS-Story, and our part in it and its parts in us.

We hold our breath not out of anticipation of what could happen, but rather we hold our breath out of understanding that what we are about to receive is the most important thing that has ever happened and will ever happen. What happens this night is the linchpin of all Creation and Time itself. And because we believe we can say this.

And because we believe and can say this, we can live it. And when we live it out, others can see it alive in us, can see him alive in us and the story begins again.

And the universe holds its breath asking, “And can it be, all over again?” Amen.

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Blessings, Rock