Sermon For Easter Day 2014.
I am Risen, and present with Thee.
Greater words of reassurance could not have been written; He is Risen, Risen Indeed. Ps. 68 opens with the following words, “May God arise, may His enemies be scattered; may His foes flee before Him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts in the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”
Christ is Risen that we know to be true, but His enemies are far from scattered, the world on this Sunday of all Sundays, is stricken, almost paralysed by one conflict after another, the world is in a critically perilous state and the stakes have never been higher.
This is the day that the Lord has made so be glad in it, and so we are. Here at last we have arrived after our Lenten journey of sighs and sorrows as we greet with Joy in our hearts the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. From the Tree of Shame and sorrow at Calvary we share as faithful children of Christ that ultimate victory, the Tree of Shame that was transformed into the Cross of Love and Hope. Christ has overcome death to free all man kind once and for all from the bondage of sin and wickedness, at last the prince of darkness defeated.
We now with faith observe that Tree of Shame as the Cross of Christ’s love, the sign given to us all who believe in Him of the reality of mans Salvation and Redemption. He is with us, this God of Love, who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, for our sakes. Love is the key word here; we are challenged and commanded at every Eucharist, to love our God, with our whole hearts and our whole minds, and to love our neighbour as thyself.
It is this same Love that shapes and guides each and every one of us, it is this same Love, that has so wonderful shaped this nation for over two thousand years, protected us, guided us and our Faith. The Traditional Anglican Church Catholic and Apostolic is founded upon His abiding Love for all mankind.
But now my dear friends, I fear we are under the greatest threat for many generations. Christians in many parts of the world today are being persecuted and ridiculed; it has become a contentious employment issue to wear a crucifix at work, Church buildings are being closed and abandoned at an alarming rate and in this country attendances are dwindling rapidly. The true meaning of Christianity is being eroded and lost in a society that is increasingly secular and liberal feminist dominated.
We live, particularly in Europe in a society that is increasingly abandoning its Christian heritage, a society that claims to be multi faith and multi cultural. It is a crime to criticise almost any Faith group except it seems Christianity, and yet it is the Christian faith that is Loving and Tolerant towards all, it is the reason why so many come to live here, to enjoy and cherish amongst other things the right to live and practice without fear of persecution their own faiths.
We are becoming apologetics, constantly trying not to offend anyone, and yet we seem to forget that unless we stand up and be counted in defence of our Faith, the one we will offend is Our Blessed Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. The rot has to stop if we are to avoid a complete collapse of the Christian Church in this country and Europe. The Church is under attack and conflicts and disputes within the Church Of God is not helping matters but very damaging indeed.
If we claim to be Christians, then we have to fight for the Faith and build bridges between all Christian Churches, even those who we believe are continuing in error. I believe that we in the Continuing Anglican Church, have to stand firm on the sacred and holy ground that we hold, it has been fought for and won. We have paid a heavy price of ridicule, insult and sacrifice for it. However that said, it makes it all the more precious to be where we are today.
“Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame; and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
We are called together to be Faithful servants of God and fight for what we hold to be true and dear to us. We cannot afford to falter nor fail but to meet with courage and conviction each and every challenge that is set before us. There are some very positive and encouraging signs beginning to develop and in His time, I feel certain that all will be well.
I wish you all a Holy and Joyous Easter
In Name of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ