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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

Easter Day  Year B April 1, 2018

Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
John 20:1-18

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus said this to his closest followers shortly before he died, and it is the theme of our sequence hymn.

John’s gospel takes us back to that first Easter morning. Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb, sees that the stone has been removed, and runs back to Peter and John. Although he denied Jesus three times, Peter is back with the twelve. He denied that he knew Jesus because he was afraid that the authorities would kill him, too.

We can imagine Peter rejoining the disciples, confessing his denial, which he deeply regretted, and then waiting with the others to see what would happen next.

He and John literally race to the tomb, Peter goes in first and sees the cloth that had wrapped Jesus’ head rolled up neatly. One has a vision of Jesus rising and very considerately folding the head cloth before he leaves. Peter and John then go home. They have not grasped the fact that Jesus is risen.

But Mary stays. She can’t leave. And she weeps. They are all shattered by grief, but she is the one who expresses it. She looks into the tomb and sees the two angels. They ask her why she is weeping, and when she says she does not know where Jesus has been taken, there he is. He asks her the same question, “Why are you weeping?”

In all of these post-resurrection encounters, people do not recognize Jesus, and this is true for Mary Magdalene. She thinks he is the gardener.  She asks him to tell her where the body of Jesus is so that she can take it away.

And then he says her name—“Mary!” And she realizes that it is Jesus.

He gives her the profound honor of being the first one to see him risen. Just as she is going to hug him, he tells her that he has to go to be with the Father. She cannot hold onto him. But he gives her another high honor. He asks her to be the one to tell the apostles that he has risen. Immediately, she goes and tells his followers that he is alive.

In all the gospel accounts, those who loved Jesus so deeply and watched his torture on the cross have an extremely difficult time realizing that he has risen. Yet God has brought good out of this horrible event.

When we go through something terrible, when we lose a dear one, or go through a disaster of one kind or another, or receive a serious or even terminal diagnosis, it seems impossible that any good or anything like new life could come out of it.

And yet, “Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain.” A little green shoot rises out of the earth in spring. The grain of wheat has been buried in the earth and now comes to life.

John Macleod Campbell Crum was an Anglican theologian, poet, and hymn writer who lived from 1872-1958. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1900 and served several parishes.He was a canon of Canterbury Cathedral from 1928-1943.

On Easter we know that love is come again like wheat that springeth green. Christ is love. God is love. Love is the strongest force in the world.

“Now the green blade riseth like the buried grain,  wheat that in dark earth many days has lain; love lives again that with the dead has been:  Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.”

Because of God’s unconditional love, we can always have hope. Because God loves us so much that nothing can stop that love, even the greatest brokenness, even the darkest hour, even the most profound and painful suffering, can and often does lead to light and life.

God cannot protect us from suffering, but, in some way that we will never understand, because God has gone though the worst suffering that anyone can endure, because God has taken all that darkness and hatred and brokenness and wrestled with it and worked with it and labored with it, and transformed it into life, we can experience that newness of life. John Macleod Campbell Crum has captured all of that meaning in his wonderful hymn:

“In the grave they laid him, love whom hate had slain, thinking that never he would wake again. Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen, love is come again like wheat that springeth green.”

“When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain, thy touch can call us back to life again, fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: love is come again like wheat that springeth green.”

Alleluia, Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

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