Sermon preached by Archdeacon Trevor Harrison at the Midnight Mass of the Nativity 25 December 2019 It’s a marvellous, wonderful,... read more
An Easter message from the Very Rvd. Peter Beck
TĒNĀ KOUTOU KATOA
my warmest greetings to you.
No one saw the Resurrection. No one knows when it happened or how. There was no car chase. No government enquiry. No coverage on ‘Seven Sharp'. No body. The tomb is open and empty, abandoned except for a few devoted, if somewhat disconsolate, women. For something at the heart of our faith, this remains slim pickings. Where was ONE News - CNN? Where was The Daily News? We might well have expected an embedded reporter or two.
But of course we don’t get any of it. There is quite literally nothing to this story. An empty tomb. The archetypal Christian symbol of life and hope is found in something missing, something not there. “The Case of the Missing Body,” as writer Agatha Christie might have called it. It is indeed a mystery, but unlike anything Agatha Christie ever imagined.
For this empty tomb is full of meaning. Where we as Christians draw forth our faith, our hope for this world and for the kingdom to come. At this tomb we find the Christ of eternity alive in the here and now. From this chasm, a symbol of death and defeat, bursts forth victory and life. Christ’s tomb is the earthen aperture through which God’s love pours out upon our parched world. The empty tomb is the absolute proof of the very nature of God and of the destiny that is ours and the whole universe. And it is Love, love, love! All that separates, injures and destroys is overcome by all that unites and heals and creates.
The essence of the resurrection faith is found in the experience of human relationships. Whatever culture, religion, colour, class, sexual orientation or anything that marks our difference and distinctiveness from one another, the common bond we have is in our yearning for love and life. This yearning is the movement of Love within each one, the love which is eternal, which can never die, which will burst out of any locked door and closed preconceptions we may have. It is not unusual or weird or in a sense even miraculous. The resurrection is simply how things are!
And as the story of Jesus confirms, though we may bury it, run from it, lock it in a tomb, this love will not be defeated. Our destiny for fullness of life will be realised, some day. In the pleasure and delight of friends and friendship, in our brokenness and hurt, in our strength and weakness, ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’, and that all shall be well.
Moment by moment, day by day, we can venture to live that resurrection life and become who we are, children made out of love and for love. And wherever we see people, of whatever faith or none, reaching out to one another in Christlike love, protesting against the forces of death, greed and self-centredness in our world, then rejoice!
We pray our Cathedral Prayer that we may 'be as Christ to our community'. How exciting and amazing is that! As we embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead of us, let us indeed be a church who live as the Easter people! As the Nike ad puts it: ‘Just do it!’