Almondbury with Farnley Tyas

Sharing the love of Christ in the community

Easter Morning Sermon 2021

by Revd Jessica Malay

Jesus is Lord of All.  Today is Easter day, and it is a special Easter day even though we did not do what we used to do.  There was no dawn service at Castle Hill, we did not process with the Easter Candle in our robes, there will be no hymns.  There will be no common communion cup, no tea and coffees, no handshaking and joyous ‘peace be with yous’ .  And yet, we sit together today and we know Jesus is Lord of All. 

We have learned, as Mary and the other disciples discovered - that Jesus fills everything.  There are no voids, no empty places, no absence. There is nothing missing.  Jesus’s resurrection put an end to the emptiness that human beings have felt since they began to be cognizant of the world around them.  As the gospel writer of John puts it so well: ‘On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you’.  That day was Easter morning and on that morning nothing, in the entire world, would ever be the same. 

We often forget this.  We are so used to living in a world where we know that God responds to our prayer, where we know that our sins are forgiven even before we ask forgiveness, where we know that Loving one another is the most important act we can perform.  We know these things even if at times we find it hard to believe and accept them. 

Before Jesus’s ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection people didn’t know this, they didn’t think this kind of relationship with God was possible. There was a barrier between human beings and God - a barrier of their own making.  If you read the Old Testament, its so clear that God wishes to be part of human life, but that human beings can’t quite fathom such a thing, and so they created carved images, rituals, and other ways that made them feel like they could at least in some way approach God.  And this is true for all people in all places throughout history.  But this was not God’s will.  And it took sometime before people were quite ready to have the kind of relationship with God that God’ wanted for us, and when the most perfect time came, Jesus was born into this world, The Word was made Flesh, God’s will for each of us became so clear that it could not be ignored.

In the space of three days, the world changed.  In the space of three days the veil was truly torn asunder for all people, for all time.  Jesus lifted all of us, all humanity, into loving communion with the divine. 

Now, you might be thinking at this moment, actually I don’t know if that is true for me.  Like Mary at the empty tomb, or the disciples in the upper room, or Clopas, and likely his wife Mary on the Emmaus road, they were not sure of anything that morning. In fact they thought they had lost everything at the very time they were gaining everything - the whole world. 

And sometimes that is us, we think that no one is there for us, we doubt, we find ourselves as the psalmist puts it, we are ‘like unto those who that go down into the pit’ - that age-old metaphor for depression and despair.  Many of us have no doubt experienced this kind of despair over the last year, we sit like Mary Magdalen near the tomb weeping, thinking that we are alone, and bereft.  And yet she was not.  She just doesn’t at first recognize Jesus.  Isn’t that what we are like as human beings…so caught up in our own thoughts, our own expectations, that we can’t see joy when it stands right in front of us. But then again, with a little help, we do see. 

That is what this celebration of Easter is all about.  Its not about us doing anything for God, it is about reminding ourselves that we are part of God’s divine love, as Paul puts it so well, that through Jesus Christ, ‘we live and move and have our being’.

And we do not, indeed cannot, do anything to make this true for us. It simply is true, for every human being on this earth, that through our Lord Jesus Christ we are one within God’s love and we were all raised on that day.  That is what we celebrate at Easter. That is what happened.  And you know its much easier to accept God’s love, to accept that there is no veil between us, when we aren’t burdened with having to ‘prove’ his love over and over again to ourselves.  When we just turn to our Lord and say with Mary,  Rabouni!

As you know, one of my favorite passages from Paul, is Roman’s 8.39-9. It really speaks to me because it wraps up all those things we are afraid do separate us from God, and says they cannot. Paul was a man who knew despair and pain and grief and guilt and doubt. But her also knew that despite any particular feeling of the moment this one truth that flooded this world on Easter morning:

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things yet to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depths, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus Christ’s resurrection on that Easter morning made this understanding possible, not only was the veil ripped in two, it was torn away.  Let us live in this Love today, and through each day of our lives, loving each other as Jesus taught us to love, remembering that every day is Easter day, every day we walk alongside our Lord and nothing can separate us from him.