Trinity News and Sermons

2017/4/16 Easter Means Promises Kept – Sermon

There they were.  Locked up in a room.  Afraid.  The guys.

Afraid because things had not gone as they expected.  Their anticipation that all would be different had been dashed in that Garden, when he was arrested.  In that courtyard, when he was on trial, and, though none save John saw it, at the place of Execution called the Hill of the Skull!

 

What had happened? Why did it end this way?  It certainly wasn’t what I expected.  I didn’t sign on for 3 years to experience THIS kind of end.

 

All those promises.  All those teachings.  All those miracles. What went wrong?

 

And, could it happen to us?  Might we too find ourselves hanging from a cross, just for KNOWING him?

 

And even more, if he WAS from God, or WAS God, can I trust that God? 

 

My expectations are shattered. My trust has been betrayed.

 

If you have ever been at the receiving end of a broken promise (and you probably have) you know it hurts. 

 

 

A broken promise marks the death of an expectation. 

It means something we counted on, relied on and looked forward to is not going to happen. 

A broken promise erodes our feeling of trust in the person who made a promise to us, but then failed to deliver.

 

Karoline Lewis writes:

I don’t know about you, but I am rather weary of empty promises.

You know what I mean — those expressed by political candidates, those uttered by a family member who has one too many times bailed on you, those said by friends in whom you just simply cannot believe anymore, those institutions, including the church, that make promises for God they have no business making.

And, you know how it feels.

The breaking of a promise, a promise not fulfilled, goes beyond disappointment, beyond a sense of sadness, beyond mere frustration.

It is, instead, heartbreaking because you needed to believe, you gave in to trust, and you allowed yourself to be vulnerable to another’s actions.

The end result is not only trying to figure out how to negotiate your feelings about the other,

but also how to figure out what to do with the self-exposure you wish you had not risked.

That is, the breaking of a promise is at the same time both cause for a re-evaluation of the one who broke the promise and also of yourself — why did I think I could believe in this person, this system, in the first place? What’s wrong with me? Why couldn’t I see the truth?

Then there is the recognition of the other side,

when you begin to remember and realize the promises you have broken.

And you know that what you feel is what you have potentially made others feel — and that is not a good feeling. Not at all.

 

(PAUSE)

 

Could Jesus be trusted?  Could God be trusted?  Were the promises wishful hopes of a better world? 

 

Maybe it’s just that we would LIKE for the poor to be lifted up, the mighty given a bit of humility. 

Maybe we’d just LIKE for there to be someone who understands us fully, and STILL loves us, in spite of ourselves.

 

Jesus taught that.  Jesus lived that.

But he’s dead.  The promises were . . . just dreams.

 

This is what we each may have felt when we were let down because our expectations were not met, by an individual, a relationship, an institution, and yes, perhaps EVEN GOD!

 

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

 

The message of Easter is that God is ALWAYS faithful to his promises, just has God has been all through the Bible. 

 

Jesus CAN be trusted because he is not dead, but alive.

 

Hear the words of the angel to the women:

 

Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; FOR HE HAS BEEN RAISED, AS HE SAID.

AS HE SAID.

 

Several times, Jesus shared the news with his closest friends that he would be arrested, suffer, die, AND THEN BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD.

 

And so, today, we hear that Jesus CAN BE TRUSTED, because his word came true.  He DID die, but he is alive.

 

All those things he talked about, all those ways he treated people, and all those things he promised CAN BE TRUSTED.

 

 

What does this mean?  What does this MEAN?

 

It means that his words of hope, of love, of forgiveness ARE REAL. NOT IMAGINED.  NOT HOPE-FILLED PIPE DREAMS

 

BECAUSE JESUS LIVES:

 

I am forgiven.  And I am empowered to forgive others!

 

BECAUSE JESUS LIVES:

I am loved, no matter what.  Even if I don’t love myself!

 

BECAUSE JESUS LIVES:

I have an advocate, who understands me and walks with me.

 

BECAUSE JESUS LIVES:

Justice will win the day.  Peace will reign on earth.  Equality for ALL will be realized.

 

BECAUSE JESUS LIVES:

There is life beyond this existence.  And I shall not die alone!

Let me conclude by reading powerful words from

Sister Brenda Walsh, a Racine Dominican

Following the path of Resurrection is not a guarantee that we will never have life challenges.

What it does mean is that we will never have to face the challenges   alone.

The Promise of Life that is offered to each of us, calls us to examine our approach to life. 

In many ways our society has made great advances in science, medicine, technology and other fields.

At this Easter season, we are invited to tap into a far greater power, the power of God’s Spirit always available to us.

 

If we fail to do this, we deny ourselves access to life’s deeper meaning and purpose, in our own lives and in our relationship with the human family, those close to us and those far away from us.

 

During this Easter season, we are invited to take a deeper look at our life journey and reflect on the promise of God’s life in abundance.

How does it affect us individually and communally, and also the world beyond us?

We pray the prayer of Jesus calling us to live in harmony and peace, forgiveness, justice and love.

We face many daunting challenges today in the world around us – often marred by wars, conflict, economic woes and neglect of every kind.

Many of the movements we hear about are not working in the best interests of the human family.

 

 

We need a new vision,

a new way of being and doing that is life-giving

and guided by justice, peace and love.

We all need to be reminded that our own personal agenda is not of greatest importance.

We are challenged to live and act in the power of the Risen Lord and to choose hope, life and wellness for ourselves and for generations still to come.

Then we can help bring God’s truth and healing love to many people.

Each one of us is asked to be a credible witness

 to the power of the risen Lord,

believing in the promise that

“God’s power working in us can do infinitely more than we dare ask or imagine”

This is a good time to think about what is the abundant life that the Risen Lord is offering us.

It certainly does not mean an abundance of worldly goods.

 It is an abundance of deep faith and courage.  Each day is a gift given us by God.

It is a time freely given to “praise, to bless and to preach, by the witness of our lives.”

 

Christ Jesus is Risen.

He is alive!

And his promises?

On those, I can trust completely!