Have you Seen the Lord?

Preached on 31 March 2018 at Church of the Ascension, Seattle, Washington
Great Vigil of Easter, Year B (John 20)

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
Lent is over.  The tomb is empty.  Christ is alive.

The message of this service is simple:
God will do whatever it takes to bring you, all of you – one at a time if need be – to that place where you can receive the fullness of God’s love, without reservation or restriction.

Let me say that again.

We heard the story of Creation when God declared the whole of creation to be very good
and the ancient story of salvation of Israel’s Deliverance at the Red Sea.

Then we moved to the prophets, where we heard about Salvation for all – Come to the Waters, Learn Wisdom and Live from Proverbs, the Valley of Dry Bones, and a New Spirit and a New Heart.
Finally, we heard about the empty tomb and Jesus Christ, raised from the dead; God’s emphatic NO to the powers of the world and YES to the message of Jesus, the message of God’s kingdom.  We heard Mary proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!”

God will do whatever it takes to bring you to that place where you can receive the fullness of God’s love, without reservation or restriction.

The stories don’t stop at the end of the Bible, however.  The stories of salvation, the stories of God’s reaching out to us in love continue all the way to the present.  God’s story of love is played out in our own lives: in your life and in my life.  So that we, too, can proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!”

And that brings us to that last half of the message of the evening.  We don’t get to put restrictions on God’s love.  There is no holding anything back.  There are no “yeah, buts….” to God’s love.

There may be things about yourself that you don’t like too much.  That’s ok because God loves that about you, too.  God loves your whole being, your whole person.  And God redeems your whole being in Jesus Christ.

God will do whatever it takes to bring you to that place where you can receive the fullness of God’s love, without reservation or restriction.

Believe it.  Receive it.  Rejoice in it.  Alleluia.