Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) Psalm 30 Revelation 5:11-14 John 21:1-19

Third Sunday of Easter 18 March 2010 Vanderbilt Divinity Library Lectionary

Easter 3C 18 March 2010 Textweek

These are sermon notes from Peter H as Gabby is in Scotland creating Volcanic ash.......

Easter is all about newness of Life...... a change in the existing order of our living....

In the narrative from Acts, we have in the figure of Saul an illustration, a prototype of the movement into newness of life.. And so an opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves post-Easter... and to possibly glimpse the process of movement that has engaged us in our Easter.

Saul is presented as a keen and committed member of his religious community – In our language he is seen as a devoted member of the Church – and one who sought to maintain and protect the interests of the Church...

He was deeply engaged in the spiritual and religious quest – the seeking of Divine truth – He sought to live a life, and contribute to a community that would demonstrate, in the best way possible, the fullness of life that comes from attending to God... Saul sought the divine – and behaved as if the God in all life mattered.......

If he were part of our community we’d be pleased to have him.......

And yet Saul encounters the movement of Easter and everything changes...... so much so that his very being moves from Saul to Paul........

The movement that Easter asks of us is the same as that which Saul encountered....

1. Enlightened from above

2. He hears the Divine voice.... the word of God is heard...

3. He asks “who are you Lord?”

It is the question of Jacob, the questions of Moses... and a question we each must ask...

4. And the response he encounters – the response of Easter....

Christ is revealed as the arrow of life –

the direction that is not bounded by birth nor death.

Saul is blinded – everything he previously saw, he no longer sees – the old ways are no longer visible – no longer in his frame of vision...

9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Again, this is not the recalling of an event – it is an illustration of process.....

It is the process of Easter, the “three days” of dying and rising...

without sight, and neither ate nor drank - he knew the place of the tomb!

Next we are introduced to the person of Ananias.... Another who responds to the Divine call – albeit with typical Anglican reluctance.....

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Some of us have been taught that Jesus saves... some that by his death on the cross we are already saved.....

in the narrative today is a much richer truth....

It is Ananias that gives Saul his sight – a new vision and a new Spirit....

It is Ananias that leads Saul from the tomb......

This is perhaps the missing link of Easter – WE each and all of us are called to bring light to each other...

And to find the light of life for ourselves through our encounter with each and every other.....

Neither Jesus nor spiritual experiences are ends in themselves, rather they are intended to inspire acts of service and healing that can transform the world.

The very same process is illuminated in the gospel... a different narrative with a different cast – but the Easter process is there to be seen.....

Here Peter experiences the emptiness... of the tomb....

They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

And in a mystical encounter with Christ his world is changed into an experience of abundance...

His very being is also changed from Simon Peter to Peter.......

In the Easter process that transforms... his past (like Saul’s).. is blotted out... the threefold denial of Christ that we heard at Easter... is now reclaimed with a call back into Divine intimacy..........

15.. "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"

16 "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

17 “he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?"

And again, like with Saul – it is a call that goes beyond a loving relationship with Jesus.... It is a call into a new vision that opens the tomb to a divine relationship with all......

"Feed my lambs” - "Tend my sheep." – “Feed my sheep”

The process of Easter brings together the inner journey of Divine encounter and the outer journey of life lived in and among the world........

It is a process illustrated in these two narratives by two quite different people – a fisherman and a Pharisee.... Both are drawn away from all that they know and all that they do......... they are drawn away from even who they are...........

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In calling them from the blindness, darkness and emptiness of the tomb.... they not only see a new vision – they realise a new vision.... a vision that has an orientation to the world..........

In singing Psalm 30.... these two would KNOW the actuality of the words in their lives....

From a beginning......

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved."

Through a movement......

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Do we know the actuality of these words.... do we sing in all truth of the movement we have experienced through Easter.......... or do we with some sadness find ourselves slowly seeping back into the tomb of the past........

In the very middle of the text, in the story of Saul in acts, we are given one more point of reference.......

The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." 11 The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."

Blinded by the Easter process – still in the darkness of the tomb..... Saul is

At this moment he is praying,

If Easter has not yet finished with you......... If you have not found a new name...... then hold fast to prayer in each and every moment...........

For when we pray – we join a choir.......

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, "To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!"

Pray without ceasing – and in everything Give thanks.

The Lord be with you.
Peter Humphris