St. James Episcopal Church
Because we were traveling for Easter this year, I had an opportunity not always available to clergy - to hear someone else's sermon. The question asked and answered was "Where is Jesus?" He is not in the tomb where Mary and the disciples expect to find him. They are distressed and upset. So many things have happened in these three days that have been beyond comprehension for them. But gradually, beginning with Mary's moment of wondrous recognition as Jesus speaks her name, gradually they come to recognize that Jesus is alive in their midst in a new way. And as they come to this knowledge they change from people of fear hiding behind locked doors to people of action who, of course are eventually our ancestors in faith beginning to evangelize the world as they spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Faith in action. But first they had to be converted. They had to know that it was Jesus who was among them, who was alive, and not the gardener at the tomb, or simply someone who was not keeping abreast of the news out there on the road. Then it was time to act as Jesus did in caring for those who were in need, in those who were the outcast and the sinner, in loving one another as he did.
In this time after Easter many of us in our churches take a deep breath. It's been a busy time. Lenten programs and Holy Week Services and the great joyful Easter celebrations. We enter into the time after Easter when in the readings we see all the ways in which Jesus presents himself before the disciples that they might know him even more fully and deeply before he leaves them physically for the last time and gives his Spirit to be with them in a new way at Pentecost.
Before we go to put our faith in action, to evangelize and do our acts of discipleship, perhaps this would be a time to come to know Jesus better. The Jesus who came that all might be one, whose command is only that we love one another, the Jesus of outcast and least, who died for all and shares his prodigal grace without regard to our worthiness.