Sermon Archives

Saturday, March 31, 2018
The Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
The Reverend Andrew Van Culin, Rector
Becoming the Christ - Our Transformation Begins

Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
For by his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Let the whole world see and know
that things which were cast down are being raised up,
and things which had grown old are being made new,
and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made.

Something new, something wonderfully new, has begun.  Things which were cast down are being raised up!  Things which had grown old are being made new, and all things are being brought to their perfection!

Tonight (today) we learn of the final transformation of this most holy of weeks, and final transformation that is underway even now, here in this very room.

As we made our way with Jesus these past several days, as walked slowly from Bethany to Jerusalem and onward to Gethsemane and Calvary, we watched not only the heartbreaking spectacle of violence and betrayal and abandonment inflicted upon Jesus, we witnessed, as well, his remarkable transformation. 

Like a grain of wheat that has fallen to the earth to die, only to give life to new and abundant fruit, we saw Jesus take up a new purpose for life, human and divine:  to give life to others.  Then on Thursday, as Jesus tenderly washed the foot of Peter who would soon deny him, and quietly placed a piece of wine soaked bread in Judas palm, only to be betrayed by him with a gentle kiss, we see Jesus accept the most difficult truth of God’s love:  that it has no end.  And then, as Caiaphas and Pilate and the soldiers they employ, take up the instruments of death against him, we watch as Jesus takes up new tools for life. 

At the foot of the cross he lays down the ancient instruments of death and destruction – from cursing words to deadly weapons – and says no more.  No more will he, man divine, use tools that destroy as means to life.  And with that he takes up new tools in their place.  Forgiveness replaces curse, sacrificial life replaces wounds of death.  And there, as he makes as he gives up his final breath on Calvary, his transformation was complete.  The man who simply began as the Beloved of God had become God’s incarnate love for the world.

Now, it is our turn.

Today, as the new lights emerges from the darkness of our lives, and the new dawn breaks forth on the horizon of our life, our transformation begins.  Like Jesus, we are on a journey of remarkable transformation:  We, who at our baptism, heard God proclaim, “this is my Beloved” must take up our own transformation as we, too, are called to become God’s incarnate love for the world.

And the path of our transformation is much the same.  Through Jesus, we see that the purpose of our life is not simply the accumulation of glory and the preservation of our flesh; but even more the gifting life, abundant life, to others. 

And how do we do this?  By taking replacing the old instruments of death, with the new tools of life – forgiveness and mercy, blessing and sacrifice.  Imagine a world, in which we had mercy with one another, where we sacrificed ourselves for one another. 

Hopefully, we already have an experience of such holy and life-giving love, for this is the love of a family.  At their best, these are the same tools that give life in and to a family.  As husbands and wives, and parents and children (young and old), forgive one another the inevitable hurts we cause each other, God’s love becomes incarnate.  As mothers and fathers sacrifice themselves for their children, and then as children in their older years take up care of their parents, God’s love becomes incarnate. 

And while such love may have no end for our children, or for our parents, it often ends with our families. 

And so our transformation must continue.  For in Jesus we see that this same love, this same mercy, this same sacrifice that we so easily offer to the most beloved in our lives is meant for all; for our family and friends, for the strangers we meet along the way, and even for those who abandon us, those who betray us, and those who wound us.

And as we do, we who at our birth were simply the Beloved of God, shall through our life become God’s incarnate love for the world.

Friends, a week ago we began a pilgrimage with Jesus of Nazareth as became the Christ.  Today, Jesus the Christ begins a pilgrimage with us, as we seek to become his unending love in the world.  Let us take up this holy calling and, together, walk in newness of life.