Easter Day Sermon

01/04/2018

Timelapse Solemn Eucharist Service York Minster Video created by James Hardisty

Sunday 1 April 2018 – Easter Day 10:00 am

York Minster

Sermon by Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

BIBLE READING: Acts 10: 34 – 43; 1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 11; John 20: 1 - 18

Theme: God in Christ loves us this much ……

 

PRAYER:

May I speak in the Name of the Son, In the Power of the Holy Spirit,

To the Glory of God the Father. Amen

 

Our granddaughter, Abigail, who is nearly four years old asked me three weeks ago, “Jajja”, that is Luganda for grandpa, “Do you love me?” “Yes! Very much’, I said. And she gave me a hug.

“Jajja, grandpa”, she asked me again, “Does God love me?” “Yes”, I said. “How much?”, she asked.

And I said “God in Jesus Christ, loves you this much!”

[HANDS OUTSTRETCHED]

“Wow!”, she exclaimed. “God loves me this much!” Jumping up and down!

Beloved in Christ, God loves each one of us this much [HANDS OUTSTRETCHED]. Please stretch out your hands and repeat after me: “God loves me this much”.

In the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth we see a God who would do anything – absolutely anything – to bring his lost children, in the wilderness of this world, home to his warm embrace.

Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection have a power that has echoed down through the centuries, casting its shadow across empires and kingdoms and nations and it has come to us of the Third Millennium. It cries out to us, screaming at us to look upon the Crucified and Risen Saviour and realise how far God is willing to go to forgive us constantly. He promises to bring victory to the defeated, belonging to the lost, joy to the sorrowful, comfort to the afflicted, and even life to the dead.

The Crucified Saviour stands as a sign to every man and woman, every boy and girl, who has endured bodily or spiritual pain that God knows what it means to suffer, and that he redeems our suffering, our pains, through his own sacrificial love.

His Cross and Resurrection also acts as a warning to every imp and demon that prowls the earth that this world is protected by ‘a Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his flock!’ (John 10: 11).

It serves as a memory of an impossible event; of the day the Creator of the universe in his Son, Jesus of Nazareth, died in his love to save a broken world. Doing for us that which we could not do for ourselves. For sin is love turned in on itself (St Augustine of Hippo).

The death of Jesus Christ on a Cross is a scandal! A paradox! A contradiction! It’s wonderful and horrific; beautiful and unsightly; awesome and terrible; magnificent and cruel; sacred and sacrilegious; hopeless...and the very source of hope itself.

At the age of ten I too encountered the Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ. He became and is my obsession. He is the one I live for, glorifying him, trusting Him, rejoicing in Him, revelling in Him.

The object of my boasting or glorying in the death of my Lord fills my horizons, engrosses my attention, and absorbs my time and energy. I am obsessed with Jesus Christ, his death on the Cross and his Resurrection.

Jesus Christ captivates me and fills me with joy and thanksgiving.

I have come to realise that the gospel of the Salvation of Jesus Christ isn’t about the human quest after God (religion) but rather about the figure of Christ taking shape in a multitude of people: like you and me.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came to earth not to start a new religion but to offer every human being a communion in God. A participation in the life of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

All three appointed Bible readings are affirmations of the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, with personal stories to tell. The Gospel from John Chapter 20 describes Mary Magdalene’s sighting of and encountering Jesus in the garden; Paul offers a list of all who had seen Jesus, including himself, and Peter proclaims the resurrection to Cornelius.

How much does God in Jesus Christ love you? ‘This much’

[HANDS OUTSTRETCHED]

Therefore, give him your all in total self-giving, surrender, and self-emptying. And like our Risen and Ascended Lord, he will give you the power to stoop to the lowest shore and wash the feet of sinners and saints alike.

The Risen Lord has assured us of his Power, his Presence and has Commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations – baptising them and teaching them to obey all that he has commanded us.

So today, step out into Resurrection light and joy. Know the new life he gives. Accept the peace he offers. And go and share the love he gives.

How much does the Risen and Ascended Christ Jesus love you? “This much”.

Rejoice and be glad. For we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. Amen.