Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009

© 2009 by Louie Crew

Today’s Lections

The Collect

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen..

Why are you looking here? Go to the graveyard. You will not find him there. Go to the most broken person you can find. You might find him there if you serve him in that person. But keep looking. Jesus is risen. He’s alive. It’s our job to find him.

Acts 10:34-43

Shhh! Pssst! Don’t tell heterosexists about this passage:

I truly understand that God shows no partiality…. [E]veryone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

Heterosexists will argue, "And just how many get included in the word everyone? It can't be everybody!"

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

An Anglican priest who was a colleague of mine at Chinese University in Hong Kong explained to me how hard it is to sell the Gospel’s inclusiveness. “Louie, I get into trouble just by reading 'God makes the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust.' People tell me that God would not act on behalf of bad people at all. If things are going well for you, then obviously God approves, and if things are going badly for you, obviously God disapproves of you. So there."

Yet behold, God does not think or act that way:

The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Saint tells his personal story several times in Scripture. This time he frames the story as one of several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. So is your story. So is mine. In whom have you experienced the resurrected Jesus?

Our president wrote of The Audacity of Hope. Faith is audacious too. Two chapters earlier Saint asserts that faith is the substance of hope, the evidence of things not seen.

Mark 16:1-8

Leggs, a modern parable

"For our next project," she told the third-graders, "please hide in a Leggs carton something which represents spring."

Other children had started to notice that Billy was different. "Maybe I should not have persuaded Billy's parents to delay moving him to a special school," the teacher thought to herself.

On the next day, the pupils lined all 20 cartons on her desk. When she shuffled them, she explained that they did not need to know who brought what. Secretly she wanted to protect Billy. He may have misunderstood the assignment.

She opened the first carton hesitantly. Out flew a butterfly.

"Whoopee!" the pupils responded.

"That's mine!" shouted Mary.

"What a clever idea," the teacher stated.

Mary beamed.

"Now what do we have in the second carton?"

It was a small rock covered with green moss.

"That's mine!" shouted Thomas.

"Yes, moss does represent new life," she said. Since he would not remain anonymous, she added, "That's an original choice, Thomas."

The third carton was empty.

She turned it upside down and shook it.


Some pupils snickered.

She reached for the fourth carton, but Billy interrupted, "That's mine! That's mine!"

"Yes," Billy, "Thank you.

But it's empty."

"Yeah," he said. "In the spring the tomb was empty, and that brought new life to everyone."

A few weeks later Billy died quite suddenly, of a brain tumor. On his casket his classmates placed twenty Leggs cartons, all empty.

Note on
"Leggs, A Modern Parable": I first heard when The Rev. Tom Bowers told the story in a sermon for Palm Sunday at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta in the mid-1970s. I retold it in a newsletter the next month. In 1981 Lutheran theologian Martin Marty told me over lunch at the University of Chicago that never had more people written him about any single piece than wrote him about this one which he reprinted in his newsletter for pastors. At one point even radio person Paul Harvey picked it up; I do not know his source. See Importing Vocabularies to Describe Literary Structure, in which I encourage majors in disciplines outside English to use structure vocabularies of those disciplines to describe literary structure in their English classes.

See also

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