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

The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

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Worship Times

Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am


Contemplative

Eucharist

Wednesday 7:00 pm


Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

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Sermon

May 5th Homily Easter 3, 2019             John Marsh

(Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19)


The resurrection appearances – doubting Thomas, the road to Emmaus and today’s gospel to name but three – are best understood as ‘parables of the resurrection’


As parables, they are enormously suggestive…


As parables, they necessarily include us in an ongoing conversation about meanings…


As parables of the resurrection, they are filled with energy and passion about the creative possibilities of life despite (in spite of) the forces of death…


As parables their primary focus is not history but mission – how we live, what we do…


They witness to empowering experiences of the early followers of ‘the way’ in which they came to know that ‘in Christ’ ‘love cannot be stopped by death’ and life; Jesus’ life and now their life - ‘opens a new way in a new creation’


In the simplest of terms – Jesus lives and so do they…


In their renewed visions of living for him, they perhaps live with him…


They experience Jesus in the midst of their lives:


In their meals and in the breaking of bread…


In their common prayer…


In their restoration despite past mistakes…


In their call in spite of limitations…


In their sense of mission and in their new heartfelt courage despite past fears and failures…


Jesus lives and so do they…


But just so we’re clear…


Living resurrection is not a denial of death…


Living resurrection is not all happiness and joy…


It’s not about living one success after another…


The followers of ‘the way’ follow Jesus’ way: they share his mission, his witness and at times, his suffering because the ‘world’ could not (cannot) bear the gospel of life…


Jesus lives and so do they – differently…


Jesus lives and now, so may we – differently…


Living resurrection is diverse and different…


It’s diverse in its content (you have drawn me up…I cried to you for help) and different in its mood (weeping may linger for the night…you have turned my mourning into dancing)²…


Living resurrection is about living the personal and communal complexities of life - differently…


It’s about living success – differently – living not with arrogance but with humility and gratitude…


It’s about living that released relational energy which propels us further down ‘the way’


It’s about living sadness, grief and defeat – differently – living without giving into despair or denial but rather honouring the depths of our emotions, the fullness of our pain while remaining open to hope…


It’s about living through hell while inviting the hope of heaven³…


Living resurrection is facing injustice and suffering – differently – living without giving into the temptation to demonize and dehumanize the ‘other’; it’s about commitment, persistence, and the refusal of physical, emotional or rhetorical violence; it’s about calling and inviting the ‘other’ to the fuller embrace of their humanity rather than judging them by the lesser aspects of our shared history…


Living resurrection is to open to ‘the possibility of impossibility’, living without passively waiting for that which we name as god to intervene and save the day; it’s about opening to the ‘impossible’ by the embrace of persistence and patience in our living – working, conversing and paying attention to how we live our faith. The impossible is what may happen when we push the bounds of ‘what we can ask or imagine’…


But perhaps most importantly…


Living resurrection is to live the ordinary – differently - living the ordinary with new eyes, hearts and minds; it’s about seeing the ordinary as ‘extraordinary’ in its opportunities for growth, for movement, for healing and for living fully…


The ordinary is not the pedestrian exercise of monotony, it’s ‘the mystery in the mess’⁴…


The ordinary is filled with beauty if you have eyes to see and ears to hear…


The ordinary is impossibly filled with endless possibilities:


To stand up after falling…


To assist others as you can…


To value learning…


To laugh…


To mourn loss fully…


To value work, to seek work, to share work…


To confess wrongdoing…


To reflect, consider and ask questions…


To heal past hurts – even just a little bit…


To reconcile and if necessary to make amends…


To dance…


To sing…


To write…


To honour your heart’s deepest desire…


To explore silence…


To step forward, to step up or perhaps to step down…


To extend oneself…


To seek help or offer it…


To practice hospitality and generosity…


To include yourself in the circle of your generosity and care…


To rest and relax…


To play and pray…


To respect life, all life, including Gaia’s⁵…


To extend hope to those who have none…


To guide and teach…


Within the ordinary, spirit is, perhaps, pointing a finger at our life…


Living resurrection is paying attention to our life, to how we live…


Finally,


Living resurrection is that occasional, sudden, surprising experience which, in a moment, changes everything, when everything is made new… (See Acts 9:7 – 20 and Revelation 21:5)


However, as remarkable as this may be, it still takes an Ananias and a community to end the blindness of Paul and to shape a life… (See Acts 9:7-20)


While there are sudden and unexpected experiences such as Paul’s, they are just the beginning…


Just the beginning of living – differently…  


Just the beginning of together living ‘the way’ - differently…


Jesus lives and so can we - differently…



 ¹ Excerpted from the Eucharistic prayer written by The Rev Paul Fromberg of St Gregory of Nyssa

 ² The scripture quotes are from Psalm 30.

 ³ My grandmother was an important and loving presence in my life, forever accepting and usually smiling. Although I never heard her complain, she lived the last twenty-five years of her life unable to walk and in great physical pain. This line is an echo of what she said just before she died, “I know I’m going to heaven, I’ve already been through hell.” Taken metaphorically (as I think it should), her comment speaks to the depths of her life and faith.

‘The mystery of the mess’ refers to the relational complexity of all life. Far from being problematic, it speaks to the creative chaotic depths from which all of life’s possibilities flow. (Consider Genesis 1)

 In Greek mythology ‘gaia’ is the personification of the earth – ‘mother earth’. In recent years the term has been resurrected as a descriptor of the earth as an interrelated system, a living entity deserving of respect and honour.