A Sermon for Easter Sunday

By: David H. May, Rector

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

On that first Easter morning, before there was one thought of crying aloud, alleluia, our great sister in the faith, Mary Magdalene says to a stranger who she thinks is a gardener, “They have taken his body and I do not know where to find it.” I do not know where to find it.

Sometimes, when I can’t find something, I think, ‘it’s not really lost. It is somewhere, I just can’t find it.’

And I suppose that’s true but it hardly helps when you’re frantically searching for lost key. Yes, presumably they continue to exist, they haven’t slipped through some worm-hole into a parallel universe. But that doesn’t help when someone’s waiting to be picked up from school. They do exist in this material world even if I can’t find them.

Or, they’re lost.

The way we talk about losing things in the regular course of a day and a life, you’d think that losing things was a just part of what it means to be human. Apparently, we are losers of things. And even if we’re not losing things, we are worrying about losing them – like, I hope I don’t lose my hair, or my teeth. Or both.

We lose things all the time – some big and some small, some inconsequential and some that change things forever.

Honestly, though, has anyone seen my keys? My wallet? My cell phone? And, where is the re-charger cord for all of the above? And who put away the ‘Flowering Cross’ last year because I can’t find it? Uh-oh. Was that my sermon I just lost? Because I didn’t clicked the saver icon before the computer froze, so that’s lost for good. This may be an example of something being lost into a parallel universe.

And that one sock…why is it always only one sock that gets lost in the drier? Or my lost glasses that I now see are actually on the end of my nose – is this a sign that I am now losing my mind?!

But, of course, it’s not just things and stuff that we lose. We lose each other. In my high school yearbook are handwritten notes saying, ‘stay just the way you are, I’ll never forget you’. I don’t know where any of those people are. We lose each other by the simple passing of time, or through hurt feelings, and finally, of course, by death. Sometimes, we disappear from each other drip by drip til one day you think, ‘whatever happened to Tom, or Frances, or Mike.’ Where are they?

And sometimes, we get lost. We lose control, we lose our temper and we lose our sense of humor. We lose our sight and our hearing and we lose our memory. We lose our innocence, we lose our way, and we lose our faith.

Sometimes, a single loss whether large or small proves one loss too many and we lose our hope.

Poor Mary Magdalene, stands there for us all that morning. With so many losses just like ours, she has lost the One who had found her, loved her back into a brand new life, set her heart ablaze and made her shine like the sun. Now she has lost even his mortal remains. Even that small comfort is lost. “They have taken his body and I do not know where to find it” is as sad as sad can be.

A kind of panic seems to sweep over her and she runs and runs and runs. Runs to Peter and the others. Runs back to the comfortless tomb til she finally can’t run anymore. She can’t run away from the past and she can’t run towards some new future. There is nowhere to run to now. She is lost; she has lost herself.

“Please sir,” she says to a stranger in the garden, “tell me where to find him.” And with these words, isn’t she speaking for all of us? Tell me where to find him, to love me back to life.

What have you lost?
What has been lost to you”

“Please, tell me where to find him.”

And Jesus says to her, “Mary”, and gives her the gift of his Resurrection: the New Creation. And if some losses prove that one loss too many, then Jesus, found by the Father in his death and raised is that one gain that changes everything forever. His Resurrection is for her and for all and for all that is lost.

And because she has found him, she finds herself.

Isn’t that what he has said all along is the great work of his life for us…
-like finding a pearl of great price
-like finding a lost coin
-like finding that one lost sheep,
-like finding that one son lost in a far country.

His own great word spoken that you must lose your life to gain it he has accomplished for us. All that we lose is found by him and in him.

In just a few minutes two/a new lamb(s) of the flock of Jesus will hear their own name called through Baptism; they/he will be called by name into the life of Jesus. He will know them/him by name. And they will be sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. Forever findable. That is his promise to them. And to you.

The Good Shepherd comes to his own in this far country bearing his Resurrection for us, by speaking by name each lost sheep of his flock. With this one word of Easter morning, calling you by name, we have been found forever!

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