On this night, on this very different night,
as the Jews say at the time of Passover,
Jesus comes to teach us how to live and how to die,
That the grain of wheat dropped to the ground and dying,
Can then grow and produce;
And so he teaches us how to lose in order to win.
AND JESUS SEEMED TO HAVE LOST IT ALL.
Before us, on Good Friday, we had Jesus on the cross, the broken man;
Jesus, the grain of wheat stomped to the ground as so many poor people.
Jesus, crucified on wood.
He did not run from his brokenness.
But he faced his moment of truth saying in effect:
LET DEATH COME; LIFE WILL GO ON NOW AND FOREVER.
He looks the death squad in the face,
And proclaims it conquered.
So Easter, celebrating the resurrection and death of Jesus,
Is the moment in our faith;
The mystery of our faith.
IT IS THE PLEDGE OF GOD THAT WE, TOO, SHALL OVERCOME ALL THE FORCES OF DEATH,
AND WE, TOO, SHALL LIVE FOREVER.
THAT LIFE AND GROWTH ARE OURS
EVEN IN THE MIDST OF PAIN AND TROUBLE.
On this night
God gathers together all the tired stragglers and strugglers
On the road to Emmaus
To celebrate that
Christ is risen from the dead,
And we can rise, too.
To celebrate among all our troubles
That HOPE is always just around the corner from despair.
We keep dying here and being born again,
Dying and being born again;
Just when we seem to be settling down,
We have to move on down, move on down the road.
People move in, people move out;
His pride keeping him from returning to the community
After a fall.
It makes you realize we are a family when a brother is so missed.
And as I look around at his friends
Who are so down, disheartened, heads bowed, disappointed
I realize that we are not only reliving the story of Jesus
Dying and rising, again,
But we are reliving the story on the road to Emmaus,
When the risen Christ comes to us once more
And shares our sadness and
Rekindles our hope.
Is there no balm in Gilead, is there healing there, is there no physician there?
Tonight tells us that there is a balm in Gilead.
There is a physician there.
It is Jesus, suffering and risen.
Jesus comes and shares our pain,
Lifts up our pain,
Heals our pain,
Connects our pain to his, with others,
And transforms our pain.
We need to connect our own pain, our own human story, to his;
Only in this way will we realize that nothing, absolutely nothing,
No sin, no failure
Is outside God’s love and mercy.
On the road to Emmaus, risen Jesus listens to our story,
And tells us we are not walking or running in circles;
And we need to stop hiding part of our story,
We need to stop clinging to our aloneness
And really that was and is Harry’s problem, and our own
For we are not allowing God to touch us when we are lost in pain;
And we are hiding from God those places DEEPEST INSIDE ourselves
Where we are most in pain, where we are most confused, guilty, alone.
Easter tells us that we CAN MAKE IT;
We have the power to make it,
The power of God, the power of resurrection.
Because the Son of God on that first Easter
2000 years ago rose from the dead and overcame death and negativity,
WE HAVE THE POWER.
To NOT BE AFRAID OF GOING BACK ON DRUGS…We have the power.
To NOT BE AFRAID OF FALLING ON OUR FACE…We have the power.
TO SERVE EVEN WHEN WE CAN’T DO IT ANY LONGER…We have the power.
The power of God, sitting with us,
Waiting within us, waiting to be used.
In a moment, we will remember the death and resurrection of Jesus every day
With the covenant meal of bread and wine.
We will remember how on the night before he died
He broke bread and shared the cup, and through this
We will all partake of his very life.
And as we remember this:
Know that whatever God gives us
Eventually works in to the lives of others,
Like a grain of wheat that dies and becomes bread for others,
Like the sin of each of us affects the others,
Like a stone thrown in a pond, ripples into even wider circles:
SO THAT EVERY ACT SPREADS OUT AND INSPIRES AND CHALLENGES.
Let’s make a commitment today to do positive acts toward each other
So that the SOLIDARITY OF EVIL IN THIS WORLD
Is matched by a SOLIDARITY OF GOODNESS, of good people.
Let’s lift each other up,
Let’s hope with each other,
Change with each other,
Suffer with each other,
Even die a little with each other,
And rise with each other.