Sermon for Easter Sunday - April 4, 2021
April 4, 2021, 12:00 PM

Easter Sunday

April 4, 2021

 

On Good Friday, the life of Jesus of Nazareth was taken away.  Today, Easter Sunday, the life of our Lord Jesus, the Christ, is given back to us.  Yes, on Good Friday, the life of a man Jesus was taken away and today our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is risen.  Alleluia!  The Jesus we know, the Jesus we love, is our risen savior who is with us to the end of days.  His resurrection means everything! We have no life, no faith, no hope, no love without the power of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

It has been a long hard road for me to get to Easter this year.  Good Friday was more than a day.  This Holy Week crushed me and wrecked me because  each minute was filled with the trial of George Floyd.  I couldn't turn away, but also I confess I could not watch the nine plus minutes.  I have watched others die, more than I care to admit, but I could not watch this death.  Maybe I don't have the courage or the stamina.  I covered my face whenever they rolled the film of George Floyd with the knee on his neck.  I could not stomach it. I could bear the Good Friday of George Floyd. I could not bear to see his life taken away.  Afterwards,  I was inspired by the accounts of witnesses who broke down because they couldn't do more for George.  Also inspirational were the accounts of the paramedics who came to help George Floyd.  They said this man was a human being and deserved a second chance at life.  And listening to their testimony,  I learned some new words.  I had heard about epinephrine especially for people who had severe reactions to bee stings, but I didn't know epinephrine was just another name for adrenaline.  It is often given to reboot the heart and it was given to George Floyd.  Then there was the word intraosseous.  I had never heard the word intraosseous and I had no idea that paramedics could administer epinephrine straight to the bone marrow to reach the heart more quickly.  That is what intraosseous means, inside the bones. And Floyd was given epinephrine by intraosseous injection. And I had never heard the word asystole.   Asystole is when there's no electricity of movement in your heart.  That means you don't have a heartbeat.  It is also known as a flatline. George Floyd experienced asystole. These three words sum up the fight to save George Floyd's life and hearing of this fight made last week  one long Good Friday.  We learned more about death than we ever wanted to know.  Hearing these three words over and over from the paramedics we felt their pain and the grief as they did all they could to give George Floyd a second chance at life.  But it was too late because four police officers did nothing during nine minutes while a knee cut off circulation.  A man begged for his life, but these four officers did not view George Floyd as a human being who deserved a second chance at life.  George Floyd had a Good Friday, but does he have an Easter Sunday”?

And so the passion of Jesus Christ and the passion of George Floyd overlapped in a bitter and heartbreaking Holy Week.  You probably said to God, “the life of this man, this George Floyd, matters too.” Why could nothing be done to give him back his life? Like all the witnesses we feel guilt because we cannot help.   In the face of death, do we have to fail?  In the face of death, where is the power of hope?  Our hearts are broken.  Who will give us a second chance?

 And as I wallowed in my self pity, a memory came back to me of what gave Doctor King hope when he faced great conflict.  Today we celebrate the assassination of Doctor King and we draw comfort from his faith.  He return frequently to his memories of the struggle for justice in Montgomery and he said that in that struggle the people never lost their sense of cosmic companionship. Yes cosmic companionship.  Have you ever felt that? The people of Montgomery walked day after day after day. But they never grew weary because they knew  that there  would be great camp meeting in the promised land of freedom and justice.

He said, “...this belief, and this feeling that God is on the side of truth and justice and love and they will eventually reign supreme in this universe, this comes down to us from the long tradition of our Christian faith.  There is something that stands at the center of our faith.  There is a great epic.  There is a great event that stands at the center of our faith which reveals to us that God is on the side of truth and love and justice.  It says that Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumph and beat of the drums of Easter.  It says that evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy the palace and Christ the cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up...”  Doctor King had a undying and powerful faith in the future.  He believed in and counted on the future. And for him, it was the idea of the beloved community invigorated by Easter faith, that strengthened his faith that oppression is not the last word, not as a matter of Darwinian evolution.  He believed in the future as a reality in God's hands and in a future that will be God's great and holy gift.  Doctor King expected the fading of the “old order” and foresaw the  emergence of the “new creation.”  Indeed, King put all his trust in Easter, in the resurrection, in the power of the new creation.

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