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Easter Day

D. G. Phillips

Holy Communion

Crousetown, West LaHave, Broad Cove, Petite Riviere, March 22-23, AD 2008

Colossians 3:1-11      John 20:1-10


Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:

therefore let us keep the feast!


Today our Gospel takes us to that first day of the rebirth of mankind.  We are brought to the garden tomb following Mary Magdalene.  She came with spices for anointing his body.  We have come with prayers and our affection for our Lord.  She, who had been made whole by Jesus, delivered of seven demons, had the greatest devotion to His sacred body, and went, despite the danger – love made her bold.


There is no appearance of Jesus in the Gospel, not yet.  She found only the tomb empty and the stone rolled away.  She runs to Peter and John to tell them “they have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”  Peter and John run to the tomb, and it is John who “saw, and believed” – the first human being ever to believe in the Resurrection.


And we’ve had this sacred text put before us by the Church on Easter Day, (for well over a thousand years) because, at this moment, like them, we have not seen our Lord’s risen body, and yet we are encouraged to believe.  Jesus will say to Thomas when he appeared the following week to the Apostles, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.


We have not seen, yet we have believed.  We are truly blessed. 

Jesus’ resurrection vindicates His offering on the Cross.  His offering was accepted by the Father – we are truly forgiven by His sacrifice.  What he said would happen, happened – He is true to his word.


And His resurrection is a foretaste of our resurrection to eternal life.  

And He couldn’t have made it more clear.  St. Paul says, he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; …. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.


We will be clothed with a mysterious spiritual body like His in the general resurrection.  And this fills us with a holy hope, a hope for ourselves, a hope for our loved ones, a hope which reaches up into heaven.



Our Epistle, is given to us today by the Church to fill us with an even greater hope.  That hope is, that we might begin to participate in the Resurrection in this life.  It is that we might know the joy and pleasure that comes from the fulfillment of our hope even now.


St. Paul says in today’s Epistle,

Ye are risen with Christ (present tense)…your life is hid with Christ in God (even now!)…Christ is our life (even now!)…ye also shall appear with Him in glory. 


We know it somewhat.  We have through our baptism been joined not to a dead saviour, but to the risen Lord.  His living Spirit in our hearts, is what compels us to cry, Abba, Father.  We know the joy of true forgiveness, after the night of sorrow.  We know the surprising renewal of love, after the night of sadness at its death.  We dwell not in death, but in Him who is Life, and He, alive, dwells in us. 


We are risen with Christ, even now.


Yet…we would all like to know it more, wouldn’t we? 

And there is something we can do to know more of that resurrection life even now.


For those of you who have been in the Lenten studies on the passions, this Epistle summarizes really all of what we discussed for the last four weeks. 


We have desire in our hearts reaching out to be satisfied.  It can get stuck in several ways, and when we are caught in these ways, we do not know the joy and pleasure of the Resurrection life.


The good news is, we needn’t be stuck there, because the risen Lord dwells in us, helping us to guide our desire heavenward, so that…

Instead of loving our neighbour’s harm, we seek our neighbour’s wellbeing.  We can put off, as St. Paul says, wrath, anger, malice, slander, filthy talk out of our mouths.

When we’re angry, we seek instead to be reconciled with the one who makes us angry, to redress the injustice; and if that is not possible, we are given grace to forgive, instead allowing bitterness to take hold in our hearts, making us dead to the Spirit.


Instead of our desire being wasted fruitlessly in various ways as St. Paul says,

on fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry

our desire is directed at possessing the things of heaven:

the riches of his glory – the heavenly virtues and spiritual gifts

Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith;

able to comprehend … and to know the love of Christ,

to be filled with all the fulness of God. 


This is the Resurrection life, and we can know it even now.  Our disordered desire is the very thing that prevents us knowing and experiencing more fully the Resurrection life now.  This is what St. Paul says to us today.


The kingdom of heaven is within us – and Jesus will unlock the doors to that kingdom by His presence, now.  It involves from our side, living a life of holiness and righteousness: Mortifying, putting to death sinful passions, and allowing Him to refashion us unto knowledge according the image of our creator; in other words, allowing Jesus to refashion us so we become more like God.



Today we are here first and foremost, to adore and to give thanks for the Resurrection of our Lord.  And Jesus has given us a way to do this, the Eucharist, a word meaning, “Thankgiving”.


So let us participate in that Passover Feast of the Lamb that was once-for-all sacrificed for us.  In this Feast we know true joy inwardly, because our desire finds its true fulfillment here, in Christ.


While we remember in this Sacrament our Lord’s death, it is not His dead flesh that we partake of, but His risen presence.  Jesus says,

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me… he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.


Christ is risen! the Lord is risen indeed!  Alleluia! 



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