Written by: Rachael Keefe

Easter – No Idle Tale: A Sermon on Luke 24:1-12 and Acts 10:34-43

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what happened at that tomb so long ago. Faith is an act of resistance. Faith centers a God who promises new life. Faith trusts that new life can happen even in the face of an oppressive Empire.

Easter – No Idle Tale: A Sermon on Luke 24:1-12 and Acts 10:34-43

The Easter story is so familiar that we might not recognize the power in it. Sometimes we respond with little more than intellectual curiosity – did Jesus really rise from the dead? Could there be another explanation? Maybe someone really did move the body to perpetuate the story? And what’s with those angels at the tomb, anyway? We’d rather receive the story with our minds than with our hearts and spirits. We are still afraid of what the truth might mean.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what happened at that tomb so long ago. Faith is an act of resistance. Faith centers a God who promises new life. Faith trusts that new life can happen even in the face of an oppressive Empire. The Resurrection story is truly more than an “idle tale.”

In Acts, Peter tells us that “God shows no partiality.” This is the crux of the story that began in an upper room at a Passover Meal. Jesus had the audacity to proclaim love and hope in Roman-occupied Jerusalem. He told his friends and followers to love with his love, to love universally and without condition. This is resistance. This is the power and it knows know limits.

Well, the limits are those we put on it. We have come to believe the lies of the Empire that tell us we must earn God’s love and forgiveness, that some are more valuable than others, that God requires perfection, and even that Jesus was blue-eyed, blond, and White. Seriously, how much more corrupt could we make this story of universal love and life?

This Easter morning, may we all make our way out of the empty tomb and into the fullness of life. Let’s claim the power of resurrection to guide us through the death-grip of Empire. Let us feel the terror of the unexpected, the joy of encountering the Christ, and the liberating power of universal love.

We need a revolution to free us from the foolishness we’ve mistaken for truth. The possibility of a future without fear, hatred, and violence, a future filled with peace, unity, and hope is the promise embedded in the Easter story. Is this just an idle tale for you or is it the liberating path of love, waiting to lead us with power and truth into new life?

I don’t know about you, but I yearn for a world where the oppressive reign of White supremacy, patriarchy, and all the divisive fear they thrive on come to an end. Of course, this won’t be possible unless we all grasp hold of the truth about Easter and embody the universal, unconditional love Jesus lived and taught.

And here in lies the problem. Liberation takes work. Liberation takes seriously the fact that God truly shows no partiality. We begin by undoing the lies of the Empire that feeds kyriarchy and capitalism. We do not need to be superior to anyone in any way; we need only be fully who God created us to be. If Jesus taught us anything, it is a love that transforms those who live at the edges of society into those who abide in the center of community. Ought we not to do the same?

The possibility of Resurrection is terrifying. Not one of us wants to confront our fears. Not one of us wants to root out the lies that have wrapped around our hearts. The Easter story is an invitation to join the resistance, the revolution that liberates all God’s children. Easter is an invitation to imagine a world where love and liberation govern.

The question for us is do we have the faith to live into God’s dream? Can we leave the comfortable and expected behind? Can we let go of our fears and foolishness long enough to reach for liberation and love? Do we really believe that New Life, Resurrection, Transformation, Liberation, Love is possible?

RCL – Easter C – April 17, 2022 – Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24  • 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43  • John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

Online home of the Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe.
Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay
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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

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