Easter Day C’22
17 April 2022
Acts 10.34-43; Ps 118
I Cor. 15.19-26; Lk.24.1-12
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone <+>

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tomb.

The Sun of righteousness is gloriously risen, giving light to those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The Lord will guide our feet into the way of peace, having taken away the sin of the world. Amen.   – From the Burial Service, The Book of Common Prayer, p.500

The uplifting words I have just spoken are from the Book of Common Prayer, specifically from the service for burial. As Episcopalians the way to find out what we believe is to pray with us, for it’s in the liturgy of our prayers that our core beliefs are seamlessly woven. It’s in our prayers for the burial of the dead (the saddest of occasions) that the most glorious news of eternal life through the resurrected Christ are permanently linked!

If the resurrection of Christ was only a moment in history some two thousand and twenty-two years ago, the Christian faith would have died out centuries ago. But The Fact that we celebrate today is that resurrection has continued to happen ever since. 20th cen. theologian Karl Rahner noted that, “Jesus’ resurrection is like the first eruption of a volcano which shows that…The new creation has already started…Futility, sin and death are already conquered in the innermost realm of all reality, and only in the “little while” (which we call history ‘AD) is needed until what has actually already happened appears everywhere.”[1]

It was on that first Easter Day that the Dream of God for the salvation of the whole world was set in motion. And who should be the very first to take the Good News of Christ’s resurrection from the dead to the apostles but a group of devout women who had faithfully been following Christ: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women who were with them! On that score not much has changed over the centuries the Church still runs on the feet of faithful women and men but without faithful women the Church would have also died out centuries ago. What a blessing it will be – (8:00am service): later this morning at the 10:30 service to add through baptism, an 8-year-old young woman named “Vera” to that vast list of faithful women followers of Christ. (10:30 service): in just a few moments to add an 8-year-old young woman named “Vera” to that great list of faithful women followers of Jesus.

Like that first volcanic eruption the waves of new life continue to erupt in succeeding generations. St. Luke wrote in the Acts of the Apostles: “You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea and in Jerusalem…He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead…and that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10)

This message continues to spread throughout the world yea, even unto North Little Rock. I must share with you how this same message was spoken and understood by 8-year-old Vera Grishanova. As I met with her and her family to talk about her upcoming baptism, I asked her some probing questions: “Vera, what does baptism mean to you?” Her answer, “It means I am committing my life to Christ!” What a clear expression of her faith and insight into the kingdom of God. We discussed the two great commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. I asked “Vera how do we show love to our neighbors?” She quickly cocked her head to one side and without any hesitation said, “The Golden Rule!” I asked, “And the Golden Rule means?” She quickly answered, “To do to others what you would want them to do to you!”

I believe that first message preached in Jerusalem has found a lodging place in Vera’s heart and time will reveal how this message will work on her and through her the Good News of New Life in Christ!

Everywhere this message has been preached a community of hope has gathered together and formed around it and disciples, those who follow Christ, have continued to come alive and to multiply. Our faith is not just a personal one, in fact, we can’t do this faith by ourselves it takes a church. The author Eugene Petersen puts it this way: “the church is the community that God has set at the center of the world to keep the world centered…it deals with the way we live in the time being.’ As one person put it, the time we are living in the hyphen between our birth and our death.

Our world seems to be spiraling out of control and unravelling. There is war in Ukraine, and strife and unrest in Russia, polarization seems to be everywhere, but it is in Christ and in Christ’s Church that we find our center and keep our balance, it is through Christ and in Christ’s church that we find the balm of Gilead, the only medicine to make us whole, and heal our sin sick souls.


          I’ll close with Charles Wesley’s great Easter hymn:

          Love’s redeeming work is done;

          Fought the fight the battle won.

          Christ has burst the gates of hell;

          Death in vain forbids his rise;

          Christ has opened Paradise.

          Lives again our glorious King;   

          Where, O death, is now thy sting?

          Dying once, he all doth save,

          Where thy victory, O grave?


[1] From The Glenstal Book of Readings for the Seasons (The Columbia Press: Dublin, 2008) p.224