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St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1789

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca

Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:30 am - 1 pm

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us

The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

Worship Times

Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am


Contemplative

Eucharist

Wednesday 7:00 pm


Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Sermon

April 21st Easter 2019


This day is about the surprising appearance of life despite prior narratives…


It’s about how we live….


It’s about the choices we make….


It’s about those moments when we unexpectedly sense a way forward from those tombs of time which previously seemed to offer no way out…


To open to the dynamic of this day, this season, at least for a moment, perhaps we could return to beginnings…


In the beginning¹, perhaps surprisingly, life emerges within the cosmos and an evolutionary narrative unfolds…


As consciousness emerges, we notice that which we name as god, that that which we experience as ‘presence’ lures life² and we wonder if such luring is the nature of the sacred…


And so, in wonderment, we tell stories and write narratives in which ‘god’, spirit – ‘ruach’³ hovers over the ‘deep’ luring life…


Within the story, the imaginary, life is responsive to god’s desire…


Is it possible that god’s desire is god’s will, god’s will but a whispered call, an haunting invitation, an impossible hope?


Within a Greek mindset, this is the ‘eros’ of god – the erotic energy drawing forth life, ever hopeful of eliciting a response…


From our perspective, god, that which we name as god, seems to command life but the ‘command’ is more of an invitation, a yearning, a whispered insistence…


The divine one neither commands nor controls life but lures it…


Life emerges from the desiring of that which we name as god…


Impossibly, perhaps, from within a luring, a desire, an invitation – life, creation, emerges…


Impossibly perhaps, from within death – life, creation, continues to emerge…


Surprisingly perhaps, divine freedom to create depends on the responsive freedom of creatures – ‘the lapping and overlapping of influences flowing upon the face of the deep.’


This is the flow of a creative wind, spirit hovering over deep possibility - I pray you notice the metaphors…


This is spirit energy dancing with impossible possibilities ever luring life – new life – renewed life – resurrected life…


From within the cosmos, god, that which we name as god, yearns for, lures, life lived within impossible possibilities…


Life luring life…


Divinity luring life…


So again, perhaps we should say that god’s yearning is god’s will, dare I say our calling?


As sacred story says, ‘Arise my love, my fair one and come away’(Song of Solomon 2:10)


This is the hopeful invitation of desire luring, inviting, a response…


This is the energy of ‘eros’ which requires the risky responsive interactivity of relationship if life is to unfold…


This is the interactivity of the cosmos impossibly opening possibilities…


As Genesis 1 poetically suggests, this is spirit hovering over the deep, over emerging life inviting a response…


So if you dare, choose…


In the beginning it was thus…


It is thus now…


It will be thus tomorrow…


Life is god’s desire…


So choose….


Perhaps surprisingly, resurrection is an attribute of creation, a life event…


Despite death’s reality, life’s possibilities, life’s impossible possibilities, continue to emerge, to appear…


So choose…


Resurrection is an expression of impossible possibilities, impossibilities within which we sense the stirring of god - perhaps


Resurrection is a surprising (some prefer to say a miraculous) release of energy and creativity luring us, inviting us in our response to transcend yesterday…  


That which we name as resurrection is the lure of life in the face of death, an insurrectional moment, a refusal to stay put, to rest content…


Resurrection is a lure of life despite the limitations of past deaths, past failures, past events, past fears, past choices…


Resurrection is the invitation to step out and step up onto the tightrope of new possibilities…


Resurrection is the hope that despite death, despite endings, despite yesterday – life, new life, transformed life is possible⁶…


Resurrection is a cosmic event, universal in scope but always an experience which is personal, local, and emergent within the next possibility, the next event, the next experience…


So choose…


In the narratives concerning Jesus, his followers are shocked by the experience of new life, by the event of seeing with new eyes and hearing with new ears…


Somehow, in some way, there is ‘a way out of no way’ - a new creation…


Somehow within the latent strength of their small gathering they begin to hear and heed spirit’s call emerging out of deep impossible possibilities…


Jesus lives?


Perhaps others could as well…


Perhaps the good news, the invitation to live in his name opens possibilities despite the reality of death…   


So choose…


Despite the reality of death, is it possible that we are haunted by questions which may open us to a surprise:


Is life still possible?


Is life re-emerging despite the reality of death?


Is ‘god’s’ desire luring our desire, inviting response?


And lest this seem too overwhelming personally, remember that the experience of new life (resurrection) is never a solitary, singular event or responsibility; whether we like it or not, whether we understand it or not, life is always shared…


So together with others - listen, discern and choose or, as Wendell Berry says, ‘Practice resurrection’ - address the presence of death within life; face injustice; do something you thought was impossible; sing alleluia; revel in beauty; spend more time with loved ones; open to the energy of grace; bless everyone you meet and receive life from everyone you meet…


So choose remembering that, perhaps paradoxically, the truth of the resurrection lies in our response…


Our existence, our response is the way the resurrection is experienced as true⁷…


The folly of god is to require our courage to take a risk on god, on life⁸…


So choose…


Choose…


And so, risking a response to life, risking response to resurrection’s haunting call:


a word is spoken…a hand is offered…a brow is wiped…a cry for help is answered…an invitation is received… a refugee is sponsored…a companion appears… a program is created… a treatment is found… a killing is met with justice… a story is told - laughter unfolds and tears flow down… recognition comes… truth is spoken to power…a job is found… a wound is bound… a girl is taught… corruption is named… sacred silence is practiced… a soul is transformed… the innocent are freed… stomachs are fed…creation is honoured… a war is ended… a generous  understanding of beauty is celebrated…a well is dug… a community is housed… a song is sung… a heart is healed… a memory redeemed… a whale is saved…the dead are mourned - their memory honoured… art is created… a life is changed… a meal is shared… reconciliation is dared… a life is saved…eternity is gained..⁹


¹ This is an obvious reference to the creation narrative of Genesis 1 and despite the specificity of the definite article – ‘the’ beginning – there are always beginnings – multiple and varied!

²  The presence of god is more an ephemeral presence (a haunting) than an overwhelming commanding one. It is a spectral presence of the spirit hovering over the deep inviting...

 ³ In Hebrew, ‘wind’, ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ are the same word - ‘ruach’.

⁴  Catherine Keller, On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process, (Fortress Press) p.89

 ⁵ Is this our desire or god’s? Does it matter?

 ⁶ It should go without saying that resurrected life is not resuscitated life, the continuance of old. Resurrection is something new, a transformation of that which went before.  

 ⁷ Our response is also the way in which the ‘kingdom of god’ is experienced as true.

 ⁸ See John Caputo, The Folly of God, p.119 Polebridge Press 2016

 ⁹ This inadequate list is my list, so I invite you to consider your own but as you do – as you flip between this list and yours – pay attention for you may notice a ‘thread’ which may become the tapestry of your vocation.