Homily: April 19, 2015
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar
Where is Christ's body today?
As we stand with Jesus’ friends
in the upper room on Easter evening…
this is the question on Luke’s mind.
So, Luke the Evangelist takes care
to show as soon as Jesus appears
that Christ is REALLY there with them.
Jesus urges them to touch his hands and feet-
as if to say
“look, it’s really me!”
He eats broiled fish in front of them.
Not just that Easter night,
But regularly after Jesus rose,
From that night until today,
People have always wondered…
Could it be a ghost?
Or an illusion?
Or a spirit?
Why is it so important that the Jesus
Who rose is a Jesus
With has a body as well as a spirit?
The answer harks back to our own Anglican tradition
And our even more ancient Celtic roots.
In early Celtic religion,
Our fore fathers and mothers in faith
Saw and knew God in creation-
And all around.
In later Anglican Christian tradition
We confess again
That God became truly human in Christ
And walked among us.
No less a miracle
than the mountains or the sunset,
the physical world around us.
In our faith tradition
We use all our senses to experience God.
We not only hear a word from God,
Like some of our brother and sister Christians
Who believe in a Bible based religion.
An intellectual message- that says
Hear this, Believe this,
say this , think this,
And God will be with you.
As followers of Jesus Way in the Anglican tradition
We do hear God’s Word,
Indeed that IS important.
But we also feel
and taste the divine around us.
Look at the baptismal font-
Touch the water, feel it.
As Anglican Christians
We believe that God is present there.
Come to table-
Smell the rich wine.
Feel the texture of the bread
Taste its crunchy goodness.
And God is there.
Back in the first century
Luke the Evangelist was battling
a tendency that has existed and still exists
for spiritual people everywhere
to flee from the body,
to acts as if
“body equals bad spirit equals good.”
Luke won’t even let us go there.
The risen body of Jesus is a real body,
Jesus is really present with the disciples after Easter.
But where is Jesus now?
What happened to the Savior?
In a few short weeks we will hear once again
Like we do each year
the story of Christ’s ascension into heaven.
But that unusual episode is over in just a few verses,
A few brief minutes at the tail end of Luke’s gospel.
The real answer to the question
“where is Jesus body today?”
takes a lot longer to tell.
It’s contained in another entire book,
Penned by Luke as the sequel to his gospel,
The book of the Acts of the Apostles.
But that name is really wrong.
The follow up volume should really be called
The Acts of Jesus among the Apostles.
Jesus goes away to heaven
But not for long!
He will return in a few days
freshly incarnated in his friends
those who follow his way.
Luke will spend another entire book
explaining how Jesus continued to live within and among his disciples
And through them change the world.
Jesus is still present,
Still very much alive.
He is here
And he keeps blessing and healing
And loving and working
amazing as that is.
Tht’s the life
We are called to in our baptism-
To become Christ for each other here
And even more
to become Christ for a hurting world
Which needs God’s healing touch,
It doesn’t happen all at once,
Or even continuously over time.
Being Christ’s body in the world
Is both Grace and Task
And also journey.
But the deepest message of Easter,
A message we’ll continue to explore together,
new life is possible,
Not just possible But inevitable,
Wherever Christ goes in love.
Where is Christ today?
Where is that body?
Those arms swift to embrace,
Those legs itching to move toward the meeting of human need?
Where is that riven side
To which we are called
as Christ stands beside us?
Christ works with us
lives through us
wherever we reach out to meet others in human need.
(Hear these words of Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Good news today- Christ’s body is here,
Look around you.