Easter Greetings and Reflection: Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

byzantine-icon-the-resurrection

We hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebration of Easter!

Christ is risen as He said! Alleluia! Alleluia!
For those who have the time to reflect on the meaning of this greatest of Feasts there follows the text of the sermon given at the Easter Vigil this year in our friary in Church St., in Dublin’s city centre!
Peace and Blessings to you all…

Homily for the Easter Vigil: Church St. 2015-04-04

We have kept vigil… we have waited with hope… we vigil with all of Christianity…with all of the cosmos who since that first Good Friday have entered into the Divine Space where these sacred events always exist, at once both human and divine, in time and in eternity.

We have walked their ancient paths, worn by countless generations of faith-filled ancestors all over the world, and we have arrived at that upper room where the Disciples and Apostles gather to wait… For what they do not know… they are simply called to wait… sustained by a silent Mother in their midst who believes as only a mother can believe that the story of her broken boy is not yet over…cannot yet be over… must not yet be over… She a single, silent point of illumined faith in a world of darkness and pain… a star shining in the night dark in despair…

Let us go to that place now and be with them a while, entering in spirit that room of darkened windows and locked doors… where, since yesterday afternoon, they have descended into that quiet that enters the human heart when, hoping against hope, we wait…
We wait…
We wait… when waiting itself seems a vain act, a hopeless effort of a heart and mind too broken to take in the awful reality of what has just happened…

The world would call it denial… it would see in it a people who are broken by their own betrayal of the One they claimed they loved and who now cannot accept the consequences of that betrayal…and so they leave us alone… their work is done… our work is done…we betrayed Him… they crucified Him… no matter who did what… who held the nails… who held the scourge… who placed the crown of thorns upon His head… He is dead… That is all… And so they leave them at the tomb… leave them to crawl back to the upper room of vigiling… of waiting… of silence…

We look around the room… and remember…Can it really be only a few days since He was here, speaking, teaching, loving? We see the bowl of water, the towel, we see the empty plate and cup, we remember His call to love and we remember his prediction of betrayal and how, just for a moment, almost none of them, none of us, could meet His eyes…

We try and stop remembering…instead we wait with them… not really sure of what we are waiting for… there is simply a silent insistence to be here… to gather… to wait… and sometimes… when we think no-one is watching or listening to weep… to weep for what we saw… those of us who stayed and walked behind Him in the crowd; to weep for what we didn’t see, those of us who fled to rooms and hills and hidden places where, though we did not see it all we felt it all… heard it all…

Sometimes it is harder to feel and to hear than it is to see… especially when the mocking voice arises from the silence of our hearts and sneeringly delivers us to the edge of despair as we look back and watch our brave words crumble into cowardice…

And so we wait… we wait as people have always waited at sickbeds and deathbeds, at moments of birth and moments of breaking, at moments of making and unmaking, we wait with the Earth our mother, and the sun and the stars our elder sisters and brothers; those powers who stopped in their tracks and hid their faces and broke open in horror at what their human brothers and sisters had done… at what we had done…
We wait as armies await the dawn hoping for the cry of a new day and a new hope… and slowly, hesitatingly, we remember…

Did He not say that this would happen? Did He not speak to us of a handing over… of a death that had to be faced… of an hour that had to come… Did He not berate us for not understanding… for not believing… Did He not in this very room…only a few hours ago tell us, as He broke the bread and blessed the Cup, that He would be taken from us but that He would return… and that then He would always be with us…

We hear His words in our hearts…
At first… they are weak sounding… against the so new and near sight of blood, and nails, and spear, and… blood… so much blood, poured out upon the earth, they are weak against the memory of His groans and words in the midst of groans upon the Cross…

The words sound themselves in our hearts and with each one we shudder at the remembrance…
‚ÄúFather forgive them they know not what they do‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúToday you will be with me in paradise‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúMother behold your son‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúSon behold your mother‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúMy God, My God Why have you forsaken me‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúI thirst‚Ä̂Ķ
‚ÄúFather‚ĶInto your hands I commend my spirit‚Ä̂Ķ

And as they sound we remember that last groan… that almost silent word… more of a breath… a gasp, fighting its way to the surface to be heard…
‚ÄúKaaaah laaahhh‚Ä̂Ķ ‚ÄúIt is accomplished!‚Ä̂Ķ
and somewhere deep in our memory awakens the knowing that this is the word the High Priest utters in the temple as the last Passover Lamb is slaughtered… Kahlah… it is accomplished…
and we are stilled…
and we think…
the lamb…
the blood of the Passover Lamb…
the blood daubed on door post and lintel that says in this place death has no power…

And we remember a man‚Ķ John‚Ķworn thin and brown by prayer and desert sun both, and his arm, wiry and long, as it pointed across the river and his voice crying aloud, ‚ÄúBehold the Lamb!‚Ä̂Ķ and we, they, all of us through all time begin to hope‚Ķbegin to yearn‚Ķ begin to pray‚Ķ begin to think‚Ķ maybe‚Ķjust maybe‚Ķ

For yes, He was truly the long-awaited Lamb and the true High Priest and even the Altar of Sacrifice itself and in that whispered moan of Kahlah as He yielded up His spirit He accomplished all that He had been sent to do, all that He had freely chosen…

In emptying Himself of Glory He descended into the darkness of a sin conquered world and became its liberator, its conqueror, its saviour, its light. And we who know that darkness, who know its pull and hear its siren call daily, know also that we are made for that light, long for that light, long for that love, long in the deepest places of our hearts for new beginning and the grace of an inward dawn that never yields to the night of self or death or sin again…
And this is what we vigil for… this is how we can endure the memory of the scourge, the crown, the nails, the cross, the spear… because we know how the story ended! Not in the dark despair of a Friday night, at the sealed dry rock of a tomb but in the dawn light of a Spring garden on a Sunday morning where resurrection was announced by birds greeting the new day in song…

For in that divine breathing forth, that cry of Kahlah…
Life itself went forth to meet death,
Light itself went forth to meet darkness,
Love itself went forth to meet hate, and…
death was made the door of life,
darkness was dispelled and illumined, and
hate was defeated and cast down by Love
and breath born creation was in-spired again, created anew as in the Saviour’s expiration it received the breath of God…the Divine kiss of life saving a sin drowned cosmos and so could begin to breathe anew…

And this happened…this happened… and it is happening now… here in this place… not again, but always!
For in the eternal now of God this waiting in the darkness of sorrow, always becomes, when transcended with faith, a vigil of light and hope, always becomes a resurrection moment as we touch the power of the Risen One and His grace…

And this is how by Fire, and Story, and Water, and Bread, and Wine we pass through thousands of years of waiting and longing in a single night, and with hearts made new and candles kindled, we become who we really are: the anointed sons and daughters of God who know that the despair of the upper room on that Saturday will surely, surely, yield to Easter joy and light.

This is why we are able to not just tell the story but to become the story for a world that longs to hear it, needs to hear it, was made to hear it… and when we beome that story in the Risen One, when we allow Him to once more be the Word made Flesh in us then, only then does the marvel of Easter take place:

Christ will rise in your heart, in my heart.
Christ will work in us and through us.
Christ will pour our His blood upon us and breathe His Spirit into us and illumine us with His light and with His love…
And, when the moment comes for us to enter into His Kingdom, we will hear Him say, as He looks upon us all, ‚ÄúKahlah!‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúIt is accomplished!‚ÄĚ, and we will know ourselves to truly be His New Creation, His Victory Song, His Easter People who sing His Alleluia Cry‚Ķ
This is why we vigil and this will be why we vigil to the end of time…

Yes…we have touched darkness…and will touch it again… earthly and fallible and fallen as we are…
We have seen how quickly our ‚ÄúHosannas!‚ÄĚ turn to cries of ‚ÄúCrucify!‚ÄĚ and we know our sin, but we know our Saviour too and know that no darkness, however powerful it seems will stand against His Resurrection light!
No need for shame, or guilt, or fear, this Holiest of Nights, they are the fruits of Adam’s turning away…now the new Adam appears, and with Him who is both God and Man we are returned not merely to Eden, but to Heaven itself, there to gaze upon the face of God forever and to hear our names called as children of the Most High…

Yesterday we kissed the Cross,
This evening we have vigilled from darkness to light
Tomorrow and forever…we are an Easter people for we know that above all, beyond all, behind all:
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!

May the Lord bless you and yours this Easter Night: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

'I hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebration of Easter!<br />
For those who have the time to reflect on the meaning of this greatest of Feasts there follows the text of the sermon given at the Easter Vigil this year...<br />
Peace and Blessings to you all...</p>
<p>Homily for the Easter Vigil: Church St. 2015-04-04</p>
<p>We have kept vigil… we  have waited with hope… we vigil with all of Christianity…with all of the cosmos who since that first Good Friday have entered into the Divine Space where these sacred events always exist, at once both human and divine, in time and in eternity. </p>
<p>We have walked their ancient paths, worn by countless generations of faith-filled ancestors all over the world, and we have arrived at that upper room where the Disciples and Apostles gather to wait… For what they do not know… they are simply called to wait… sustained by a silent Mother in their midst who believes as only a mother can believe that the story of her broken boy is not yet over…cannot yet be over… must not yet be over… She a single, silent point of illumined faith in a world of darkness and pain… a star shining in the night dark in despair…</p>
<p>Let us go to that place now and be with them a while, entering in spirit that room of darkened windows and locked doors… where, since yesterday afternoon, they have descended into that quiet that enters the human heart when, hoping against hope, we wait…<br />
We wait…<br />
We wait… when waiting itself seems a vain act, a hopeless effort of a heart and mind too broken to take in the awful reality of what has just happened… </p>
<p>The world would call it denial… it would see in it a people who are broken by their own betrayal of the One they claimed they loved and who now cannot accept the consequences of that betrayal…and so they leave us alone… their work is done… our work is done…we betrayed Him… they crucified Him… no matter who did what… who held the nails… who held the scourge… who placed the crown of thorns upon His head… He is dead… That is all… And so they leave them at the tomb… leave them to crawl back to the upper room of vigiling… of waiting… of silence… </p>
<p>We look around the room… and remember…Can it really be only a few days since He was here, speaking, teaching, loving? We see the bowl of water, the towel, we see the empty plate and cup, we remember His call to love and we remember his prediction of betrayal and how, just for a moment, almost none of them, none of us, could meet His eyes…</p>
<p>We try and stop remembering…instead we wait with them… not really sure of what we are waiting for… there is simply a silent insistence to be here… to gather… to wait… and sometimes… when we think no-one is watching or listening to weep… to weep for what we saw… those of us who stayed and walked behind Him in the crowd; to weep for what we didn’t see, those of us who fled to rooms and hills and hidden places where, though we did not see it all we felt it all… heard it all… </p>
<p>Sometimes it is harder to feel and to hear than it is to see… especially when the mocking voice arises from the silence of our hearts and sneeringly delivers us to the edge of despair as we look back and watch our brave words crumble into cowardice…</p>
<p>And so we wait… we wait as people have always waited at sickbeds and deathbeds, at moments of birth and moments of breaking, at moments of making and unmaking, we wait with the Earth our mother, and the sun and the stars our elder sisters and brothers; those powers who stopped in their tracks and hid their faces and broke open in horror at what their human brothers and sisters had done… at what we had done…<br />
We wait as armies await the dawn hoping for the cry of a new day and a new hope… and slowly, hesitatingly, we remember…</p>
<p>Did He not say that this would happen? Did He not speak to us of a handing over… of a death that had to be faced… of an hour that had to come… Did He not berate us for not understanding… for not believing… Did He not in this very room…only a few hours ago tell us, as He broke the bread and blessed the Cup, that He would be taken from us but that He would return… and that then He would always be with us…</p>
<p>We hear His words in our hearts…<br />
At first… they are weak sounding… against the so new and near sight of blood, and nails, and spear, and… blood… so much blood, poured out upon the earth, they are weak against the memory of His groans and words in the midst of groans upon the Cross…</p>
<p>The words sound themselves in our hearts and with each one we shudder at the remembrance…<br />
‚ÄúFather forgive them they know not what they do‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúToday you will be with me in paradise‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúMother behold your son‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúSon behold your mother‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúMy God, My God Why have you forsaken me‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúI thirst‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
‚ÄúFather‚ĶInto your hands I commend my spirit‚Ä̂Ķ</p>
<p>And as they sound we remember that last groan… that almost silent word… more of a breath… a gasp, fighting its way to the surface to be heard…<br />
‚ÄúKaaaah laaahhh‚Ä̂Ķ ‚ÄúIt is accomplished!‚Ä̂Ķ<br />
and somewhere deep in our memory awakens the knowing that this is the word the High Priest utters in the temple as the last Passover Lamb is slaughtered… Kahlah… it is accomplished…<br />
and we are stilled…<br />
and we think…<br />
the lamb…<br />
the blood of the Passover Lamb…<br />
the blood daubed on door post and lintel that says in this place death has no power…</p>
<p>And we remember a man‚Ķ John‚Ķworn thin and brown by prayer and desert sun both, and his arm, wiry and long, as it pointed across the river and his voice crying aloud, ‚ÄúBehold the Lamb!‚Ä̂Ķ and we, they, all of us through all time begin to hope‚Ķbegin to yearn‚Ķ begin to pray‚Ķ begin to think‚Ķ maybe‚Ķjust maybe‚Ķ </p>
<p>For yes, He was truly the long-awaited Lamb and the true High Priest and even the Altar of Sacrifice itself and in that whispered moan of Kahlah as He yielded up His spirit He accomplished all that He had been sent to do, all that He had freely chosen…</p>
<p>In emptying Himself of Glory He descended into the darkness of a sin conquered world and became its liberator, its conqueror, its saviour, its light. And we who know that darkness, who know its pull and hear its siren call daily, know also that we are made for that light, long for that light, long for that love, long in the deepest places of our hearts for new beginning and the grace of an inward dawn that never yields to the night of self or death or sin again…<br />
And this is what we vigil for… this is how we can endure the memory of the scourge, the crown, the nails, the cross, the spear… because we know how the story ended! Not in the dark despair of a Friday night, at the sealed dry rock of a tomb but in the dawn light of a Spring garden on a Sunday morning where resurrection was announced by birds greeting the new day in song…</p>
<p>For in that divine breathing forth, that cry of Kahlah…<br />
Life itself went forth to meet death,<br />
Light itself went forth to meet darkness,<br />
Love itself went forth to meet hate, and…<br />
death was made the door of life,<br />
darkness was dispelled and illumined, and<br />
hate was defeated and cast down by Love<br />
and breath born creation was in-spired again, created anew as in the Saviour’s expiration it received the breath of God…the Divine kiss of life saving a sin drowned cosmos and so could begin to breathe anew…</p>
<p>And this happened…this happened… and it is happening now… here in this place… not again, but always!<br />
For in the eternal now of God this waiting in the darkness of sorrow, always becomes, when transcended with faith, a vigil of light and hope, always becomes a resurrection moment as we touch the power of the Risen One and His grace…</p>
<p>And this is how by Fire, and Story, and Water, and Bread, and Wine we pass through thousands of years of waiting and longing in a single night, and with hearts made new and candles kindled, we become who we really are: the anointed sons and daughters of God who know that the despair of the upper room on that Saturday will surely, surely, yield to Easter joy and light. </p>
<p>This is why we are able to not just tell the story but to become the story for a world that longs to hear it, needs to hear it, was made to hear it… and when we beome that story in the Risen One, when we allow Him to once more be the Word made Flesh in us then, only then does the marvel of Easter take place:</p>
<p>Christ will rise in your heart, in my heart.<br />
Christ will work in us and through us.<br />
Christ will pour our His blood upon us and breathe His Spirit into us and illumine us with His light and with His love…<br />
And, when the moment comes for us to enter into His Kingdom, we will hear Him say, as He looks upon us all, ‚ÄúKahlah!‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúIt is accomplished!‚ÄĚ, and we will know ourselves to truly be His New Creation, His Victory Song, His Easter People who sing His Alleluia Cry‚Ķ<br />
This is why we vigil and this will be why we vigil to the end of time… </p>
<p>Yes…we have touched darkness…and will touch it again… earthly and fallible and fallen as we are…<br />
We have seen how quickly our ‚ÄúHosannas!‚ÄĚ turn to cries of ‚ÄúCrucify!‚ÄĚ and we know our sin, but we know our Saviour too and know that no darkness, however powerful it seems will stand against His Resurrection light!<br />
No need for shame, or guilt, or fear, this Holiest of Nights, they are the fruits of Adam’s turning away…now the new Adam appears, and with Him who is both God and Man we are returned not merely to Eden, but to Heaven itself, there to gaze upon the face of God forever and to hear our names called as children of the Most High…</p>
<p>Yesterday we kissed the Cross,<br />
This evening we have vigilled from darkness to light<br />
Tomorrow and forever…we are an Easter people for we know that above all, beyond all, behind all:<br />
Christ has died,<br />
Christ is risen,<br />
Christ will come again!</p>
<p>May the Lord bless you and yours this Easter Night: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!'
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