Easter Day A’23
9 April 2023
John 20.1-18
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North LiƩle Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone <+>

“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. If we have died with him, we shall also live with him, if we endure, we shall reign with him. Amen. -Good Friday Anthems, The Book of Common Prayer p.281

How odd, one of the best-selling cars of all Ɵme was the Volkswagen Beetle, In German, (Folks-Vahgen) literally “the people’s car, smoked the competition of much larger cars that were loaded with many more features that the Beetle. How odd. With much less metal, and fewer features this little car out performed and out sold so many others who were predicted to do much beƩer than the humble Beetle. How odd. If you were going to promote such a best seller, what slogan do you think you would use? Get the Beetle it’s the greatest! No. Buy the best of the best! No. The best slogan the marketeers at Volkswagen could come up with? “Think Small.” How odd. With those words, the little people’s car, sped into the automobile history books.

On Easter Day we gather to hear the story of the culmination of the greatest figure in the history of the universe. Wow! This must be a whale of a story – the greatest figure of human history! What would such an important, and successful person be like? They would most certainly be rich beyond measure, and possess physical beauty beyond compare. Their intellect would be unparalleled, having graduated from the greatest college summa cum laude, and they no doubt would have written many books that became best sellers. They would have built many architectural wonders, and created artistic beauty that millions would be continually admiring long after their death. Politically they would be the great king of all time, wielding more power than all the dictators of humanity combined.

However, the great figure of history we gather to not only hear about but to worship on this Easter is a lowly Jewish carpenter. How odd. He never graduated from a university, in fact geƫting his GED, quite possibly, was the extent of his formal education. Thanks to his dad, he did manage to learn a trade, carpentry, but there’s not even a single table or chair in existence that he made and left behind. He didn’t write a single book, or build any colleges or libraries or any other architectural marvels. How odd.

And, the huge story about the greatest figure of all time, that we gather around to listen to and remember? Besides the great figure only has three people in it, Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and the Apostle John. How odd.

The backdrop of this story that we remember today is resurrection. As we fully enter Spring, we see the signs of resurrection all around us. Trees, and grass, flora, and fauna that all looked dead have come roaring back to life. To come back to life from death is in the DNA of the universe. Love is at the center – and because of God’s great love nothing that God made can ever finally die. No one was there to actually watch Jesus’ resurrection happen, they could only see the after effects of him alive and well, walking, talking, and eating with his disciples, and the three faithful Mary’s: Mary his mother, Mary of Bethany, and Mary of Magdala. We still prove the resurrection the same way by the changed lives of those who have experienced resurrection in their own lives: Peter, a former fisherman, John, a former fisherman, Mary, a former woman of ill repute whose lives were turned upside down, renewed, restored and brought back to New Life. And with this handful would be the beginning of a world turned upside down, where hatred would be defeated and replaced by love. Why do we as Christians believe in The  Resurrection? Because, quite frankly resurrection has never ceased. With each successive generation people have continued to turn over their false selves who were spiritually dead to the Living God, and the miracle of their True Selves come to life. The light that has been hidden with Christ suddenly bursts into flame and new lives bloom and keeps the ripple of resurrection going, to this very day! How odd.

Today on this Easter Day, the greatest day in the Christian Calendar, we gather to hear and remember once again, this ‘little story’ about a Jewish carpenter, who never went to college, with only three other characters, a former prostitute, and a couple of mediocre former fishermen, as it turns out, has become the most important story of our lives – ALLELUIA! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia…How odd.