dimanche 4 mai 2014

Sermon (Luke 24:1-8)

The women were taking to the tomb the spices they had neatly prepared, to embalm the body of a man they had loved. But as it happened, it was not only a body that they were prepared to bury for good. These women were about to give up everything they had believed : their hopes, the promises which the Messiah incarnated to them… Well, all of that belonged to the past, to the time before he got tormented, humiliated, and killed. All the values they held on to were crushed with the man on the cross. And the loving and caring God of justice he was telling them about was crushed as well. Actually, the embalming was nothing but a farewell to the faith and hope that had taken flesh in a man. There only remained a decaying corpse, soon to be forgotten by everyone.
However, Entering the tomb, they discover it empty, and the angel’s voice echoes in their ears : « He is not here! Why do you look for the living among the dead? »

Why do you look for the living among the dead ? In my opinion, this is typically a question that the Christians tend to forget too quickly. Yet, this question makes us what we truly are : bearers of hope, bearers of future.

We all tend to turn to the past. This is just human. Whenever something goes wrong, it is so easy, though cowardly, to remember how great it was in the good old times. Likewise, I often hear Christians refering to Jesus as a hero, quoting his word, imitating his actions. But some of these people do not even try to understand how rebel and innovative his preaching was. They do not let themselves be astonished. They do not want to see that the revolutionary spirit of the living God can rattle their world.
What about Easter then? What is it for us today? Is it only a memorial event? Do we know everything we need to know about Easter? Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again three days later, and thus we are saved. No more surprise, all these things happened almost two thousand years ago. Has the resurrection become only a memory?
In other words, has God become a God of the past? A « no surprise » God? A God who is fully known, revealed, written in the Bible? A God whom we do not need to seek in our present, daily life?

And yet. That God is a dead God.
This is the lesson we learn from the empty tomb. The God of all possibilities has defeated death. He doesn’t belong to the past. He rejects the fatality. He invites the ones who follow him to look for him among the living. And we are the living!

The crucifixion of God by the humans today is when we despise all that is embodied in Jesus-Christ. When we can’t believe that God is a gracious and freedom-loving God, that the best is yet to come, that love and justice are infinitely valuable. Too often do we all mourn our faith and bury our hopes. We surrender and let ourselves be broken by dejection. But each time we lie on the ground, there always remains a little flame.
He is not here ! God is not confined in any distress. Resurrection is when Jesus-Christ is incarnated in our world again. It is when we regain confidence in ourselves and in others. It is when we can trust in our future again. It is when we stand up against injustice, pain and difficulties. Its the victory over what destroys us.
It is the triumph of life over death.

I think we needed an empty tomb and the angel’s words to realize that God found a way even where there was no solution. The empty tomb means the impossible possibility, the turnaround when there is no hope… Similar to the sun breaking the clouds after three stormy days. Easter teaches us that nothing can condemn us to be defeated, because even death has an outcome.

We are all gathered here to remember the resurrection of Christ, but not as a past event : we remember it as the ever renewed promise that God wants us to stand. I want to believe that resurrection only has a meaning if it has an impact in our present lives, and if it allows us a future even when there is nothing left to expect.
This is the way we can live and hope as the living heirs of this wonderful rejoicing that is Christianity.

Miró 'The Birth of the World'
(Inspired by a preach by prof. Raphaël Picon / Inspiré d'une prédication du prof. Raphaël Picon)