Bonhoeffer’s Easter Sermon- Exsultet- Resurrection Year C
Revised Common Lectionary New Testament and Gospel Readings Resurrection C
John 20:1-18 ESV
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Acts 10:34-43 ESV
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Today, I began Robert M’Cheyne’s year long Bible study program (here in ESV if you are interested), and it was an excellent way to follow the Revised Common Lectionary or the Daily Office readings for Easter. The First Day in M’Cheyne’s system includes Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Matthew 1, and Acts 1. So, after reading the Easter story, the Annunciation in Matthew 1 and the Ascension of Acts 1 made me think of the Jewish tradition of Talmud study- the way to commemorate completing the 7 year long study of the Talmud is to re-read the first entry with a group of people just starting their 7 year long study. But most importantly, on Easter Sunday, remember the proclamation used in the communion services of many churches- “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
God is With Us- an Easter Sermon by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Fairy tales and legends from the oldest times tell of the days when God walked among human beings. Those were splendid times, when one met a wanderer on the road who asked for lodging, then at home one recognized in this simple man the Lord God and was richly rewarded. Those were wonderful times, when God and human beings were still so close that people could walk and talk with God. Indeed, those were the days, recounted only by fairy tales and legends, that spoke of all the slumbering, secret human hopes as if they had already become reality. The beginning of our own Bible also relates how the Lord God walked about in the garden of paradise in the evening and lived and conversed with human beings. Probably very few peoples do not have similar stories. Blessed were those people permitted to experience those times when God and human beings were still close. How quickly things changed. Our Bible recounts the story of the fall as the turning point in history. Human beings were driven from the garden in which they lived with God; now they lived separated from God in guilt and unhappiness that increased from generation to generation. The rift between God and human beings deepened. Humanity sank into the night. And as long as human beings can remember, they know only the night, the time when God no longer moves freely among us, and many look longingly back to the primal age of the fairy tale, to paradise, as if to a lost home they themselves never even knew. Or people of powerful hope speak and spoke about coming days, when God would once more dwell among human beings, when the kingdom of God would be established on earth. God and human beings somehow belong together, and God will return and be their guest.
There was one day in human history when this hope had to be radically demolished, a day on which people had to become aware of the eternal distance between human beings and God—the day humanity raised its hand against the God dwelling among them and nailed Jesus Christ to the cross—Good Friday. But there was also a day of divine response to human action, a day when God took up dwelling among human beings anew and for all eternity, the day when the outstretched but unholy hand of humanity was filled, against all hope, with divine grace, the day when Jesus Christ was raised, Easter. Remember, I am with you . . . that is the Easter message, not the distant, but the nearby God, that is Easter.
A searching, an anxious groping and questioning for divine things permeates our own age. A great loneliness has come upon our age, the kind of loneliness found only in a godforsaken age. The enormous distress of isolation and homelessness has come upon the colossal, wild activity of countless masses of people in the midst of our big cities. Yet the yearning grows for the time when once again God might abide among human beings, when God might be found. A thirst for contact with divine things has come upon people, a burning thirst demanding to be quenched. Currently a great many remedies are being offered for sale that promise to quench this thirst in a radical fashion and for which hundreds of thousands of hands greedily reach out—in the midst of this wild activity and marketing frenzy with new means and ways, we find the One Word of Jesus Christ: Remember, I am here. . . . You don’t need to search very far at all, nor to question or engage in all sorts
- Rejoice now, all you heavenly choirs of angels;
- Rejoice now, all creation;
- Sound forth, trumpet of salvation,
- And proclaim the triumph of our King.
- Rejoice too, all the earth,
- In the radiance of the light now poured upon you
- And made brilliant by the brightness of the everlasting King;
- Know that the ancient darkness has been forever banished.
- Rejoice, O Church of Christ,
- Clothed in the brightness of this light;
- Let all this house of God ring out with rejoicing,
- With the praises of all God’s faithful people.
- The Lord be with you.
- And with your spirit.
- Lift up your hearts.
- We lift them up to the Lord.
- Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
- It is right and just.
- It is truly good, right, and salutary
- That we should at all times and in all places,
- With all our heart and mind and voice,
- Praise You, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty everlasting God,
- And your only begotten Son,
- Jesus Christ.
- For He is the very Paschal Lamb
- Who offered Himself for the sin of the world,
- Who has cleansed us by the shedding of His precious blood.
- This is the day
- When You brought our fathers, the children of Israel,
- Out of bondage in Egypt
- And led them through the Red Sea on dry ground.
- This is the day
- When all who believe in Christ
- Are delivered from bondage to sin
- And are restored to life and immortality.
- This is the day
- When Christ, the Life, rose from the dead.
- The seal of the grave is broken
- And the morning of a new creation breaks forth out of night.
- How wonderful and beyond all telling is Your mercy toward us, O God,
- That to redeem a slave You gave Your Son.
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- When all wickedness is put to flight
- And sin is washed away.
- How holy is this day
- When innocence is restored to the fallen
- And joy is given to those downcast.
- How blessed is this day
- When man is reconciled to God in Christ.
- Holy Father,
- Let Christ, the true light, shine in our hearts,
- He who gives light to all creation,
- Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
- One God, now and forever.