Easter Day 2016

The Lord is Risen, alleluia, alleluia.
He is Risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia.

Happy Easter everyone. Thank you for following our Lenten Blog.
This is the last entry for this year.
I finish with the sermon for Easter Day.

One of the great spiritual teachers of the 20th century, the monk Thomas Merton,
in one of his diaries wrote of a vision that he had in a busy shopping precinct.
He was caught up in the busyness and noise of the city
while travelling back to his monastery.
He was wishing he was home when suddenly, out of the blue,
he saw things in a new way.
He saw the secret beauty in the hearts of those around him;
he saw the secret beauty of the ugly buildings,
the noisy traffic, the rushing shoppers.
And he wrote in his diary:
How do you tell people that they are walking around shining like the sun?
What Thomas Merton discovered in that busy shopping district
was the wonder of Easter.

Our world is so much more than we think it is; we are more than we think we are.
Just beneath the surface of our daily existence is something extraordinary.
That is: the Risen Presence of Christ lighting up our world;
making each and every one of us shine like the sun; whether we realise it or not.

Jesus, through his death and resurrection,
revealed the true beauty and wonder of life; of our world;
of you, of me, and the whole of humanity.
We get so caught up in our basic human existence that we lose sight of the fact
that we also have a divine existence as well.
We simply do not realise that in God’s eyes
we are walking around shining like the sun.

Jesus did not just come to this world to reveal what God was like to us,
he came to reveal to us what it is like to be fully human,
to reveal to us the truth of who we truly are,
we need to be reminded of that over and over again.

Coming to worship week after week,
celebrating Easter and Christmas and the other major festivals year after year,
is all about reminding us of who we are.
It shines a light on us, on our deepest selves, on the wonder of our existence.
If we could only believe it, experience it, and know it to be true,
our lives and our world could be transformed.

When someone once asked Michelangelo how he created such beautiful sculptures,
he is said to have replied:
The beauty is already there, hidden in the stone,
all I have to do is chip away the excess material and reveal it.

Hidden deep within you, hidden deep within me, is our true nature –
the very risen life of Christ.
It shines like the sun, it calls out to be recognised, it waits to be revealed.
This Easter, will we surrender to the process
and allow God to complete the work he began?

Will we allow the Christ within us to burst from our tomb
and rise up in our lives, and in our world?
Then we too will see the secret beauty in ugly buildings, noisy traffic and chaotic life.
We too will see the secret beauty in each other’s hearts,
and our Easter celebration will be complete.