Resurrection Grace

John: 20:19-31

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Gospel

My Lord and My God

Resurrection Grace offers us gracious allegiance and resurrection reverence

Jesus Christ our Lord who commands allegiance

Jesus Christ our Lord who inspires reverence

A way to live and a way to love, doing and being

David sings so in the Psalms:  my Strength and my Might

Peter preaches so in Acts:  He is exalted as Leader and Savior

John teaches so in the Apocalypse:  Alpha and Omega

Strength and Might!

Leader and Savior!

Alpha and Omega!

Lord and God!

Have we received Him this Easter with song, and word, and lesson, and love?

Lord and God.

The Gospel of John is so different:  four resurrection stories, the figure of Thomas, Thomas doubting faith, his seeing that is believing and believing that is seeing, his friendship with the estranged, he (alone) gets the meaning of the story right.

To live in resurrection grace is to find, to be found, by the true Lord and the real God, to accept allegiance and reverence.

Allegiance

You will pledge allegiance to someone, and maybe, already, you have.

Beware the dark danger of allowing lesser loyalties to eclipse the one great loyalty.

You are pilgrim not a tourist, a pilgrim not a tourist.

You are here on a journey not a lark.

We are a pilgrim people, stumbling our way forward, as Robert F Kennedy tried to remind us 45 years ago, weeping with those who wept in Indianapolis, the night King was murdered.  Kennedy preached:

“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

Something, or someone, will claim your allegiance.  Beware giving the sacred dimension of your heart to something less than worthy of your heart.

Ask:  Who are you?  What do you believe?  How do you love?  To what are you called? Whom shall you forgive?

To what do you give your highest allegiance.  The old Boston personalists counted cooperation as the highest good.  Bodily cooperation—health.  Social cooperation—civilization.   Climactic cooperation—nature.  Personal cooperation—the beloved community.

Love is the norm, not a mere virtue.  Love is the power that makes virtue possible.  Love is who we are meant and made to be.

Have you truly selected one just need, one issue in justice, and applied and invested yourself with allegiance?

Reverence

You will finally worship somewhere, somehow.  The human being is irretrievably religious—not such good news in the face of pride, sloth, falsehood, superstition, hypocrisy, and idolatry.

Nonchalance about non attendance in public, ordered worship expands the circles of nonchalance about others, about different others, about the hurts of different others, about the willingness to neglect the hurts of different others, about the capacity to harm different others.  There is a straight line from absence in church to drone warfare.

If on Easter Sunday you saw and heard only your own kith, kindred and kind, beward.  Brunch with your wife’s family, dinner with your parents, a nap in the Easter afternoon. Lack of physical engagement with the physical presence of others, in reverence, narrows the personal imagination about what life is for others.

People all people belong to one another.

We may take five days of prayer.  One in a prison.  One in a hospital.  One in a school.  One in a psych unit.  One on a farm (R Shankar).

That is John’s difference, ironically, universality.  Our puny, trumped up differences of size, gender, race, religion, color, orientation, age, creed, tongue, waist and shirt measure—what we see—falls away before what we believe, in love.  Love is God.  We are loved, so we may love.

We think this week about Martin Luther King and the Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Some of us are habitual.  Some of us are spiritual.

Some of us are habitual:  morning prayer, daily reading, Sunday worship, tithing, gathering, all.    But are we spiritually habitual?

Some of us are spiritual:  present, alive, free, gracious, loving, open, all.  But are we habitually spiritual?

Let those of us who are habitual, be spiritually so.  May we have the power not only the form of faith

Let those of us who are spiritual, be habitually so.  May we have the form not only the power of faith.

Who is your Lord?  Who commands your allegiance?

Who is your God?  Who inspires your reverence?

Coda

Be happy

Stay happy

Be confident

Have fun

Create fun

Enjoy

Count it all joy

Shine

Live in Love

You so will benefit others

~The Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel

 

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