Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

Sermon preached at The Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia on Easter Day, March 31st 2013 by The Reverend

Alan Neale Having the Last Word Do you know someone who always has the last word? And at this point close friends, partners, colleagues will smile at each other, wink or squeeze a hand. I have the experience of living at home with someone who often has to have the last word oh, I dont mean my wife Wendy. I mean my dog Harry the doorbell rings and Harry barks long and loudly. I vigorously tell him to stop silence and then an audible growl stop silence another growl and this continues until I tire and even then almost inaudibly you hear, yet again, the growl. Yesterday I met with a couple for pre-marital conversation. I asked them about their views on this having the last word she said with a sweet smile, Oh I like to have the last, the first word and everything in between. A conversation ensued! The last word is the most dangerous of infernal machines; and husband and wife should no more fight to get it than they should struggle for the possession of a lighted bomb-shell. But its never good to generalize. There are situations in which I would much rather not have the last word having explained my sickness, I look to my doctor for her last word; describing what seems scary and unsettling noises in my car, I look to the mechanic to have the last word and, definitely, when flying I do not want anyone but the pilot to have the last word in fact, Im not even sure I want a conversation. On this glorious day, with resplendent floral praises and stirring music we celebrate, we rejoice, we are so grateful that God has the last word does pain, does sorrowing, does crying does death have the last word no, no, no and ALLELUIA NO. Alleluia the Lord is risen, He is risen indeed alleluia. In Luke 24, todays Gospel reading, the women come to the tomb they bring spices to anoint the dead body. Now they knew a stone, a very heavy, stone had been rolled into place. They would surely be forgiven if they had stayed at home, if they allowed that stone to have the last word. But forward they move.

As we grow in the love and experience of God we come to learn that no serious challenge, no disabling handicap need have the last word. Alleluia. They come to the tomb and seeing the angelic figures they are terrified, fearful, scared but they did not let this fear immobilize nor deafen them. Terror does not have the last word and forward they move. When our fears have the last word they do us damage the sick person resists visiting a doctor fearful of what he may learn; the guilty person justifies not visiting a confessor, fearful he will be ostracized and deserted. Our bodies declare, sometimes piercingly in our ears, that we inevitably endure weakness, suffering, disability and finally decay. But this corporeal declaration is not the last word the tomb was empty, the body was gone and the Resurrected Jesus was body enough to eat fish, be touched, distribute food. Sadly, if not shamefully, the Gospel continues and Luke tells us that the apostles insisted on having the last word. Though the women arrive glowing in faith and confidence, exuberant with their news Luke says (24:11) the apostles didnt believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. How sad, defeatist, wretched are their last words! This is the question for today? What prompted them, what prompts us, to need, to want, to have to have the last word in face of this glorious news. Are we too proud? Are we too cynical? Are we too fearful? The Resurrection is attested by prophecies centuries old; The Resurrection is verified by the 180 degree change of scattered deserters into bold, eloquent and disciples ready to die for their Resurrected Lord; and the Resurrection is corroborated by the personal testimony of millions through the ages and in this place, this building today! It was June 18, 1815 The Battle of Waterloo. The flashing light from Winchester Cathedral sent out the code that read June 18, 1815 was one of defeat. The flashing light from Winchester Cathedral sent out the code, "Wellington defeated" - then the fog closed in and the message light could no longer be seen. You know your history the actual message was Wellington defeated Napoleon.

When we refuse to surrender to God and insist or need to have the last word, it as if a fog clouds the divine and tremendous message God defeated death. As you and I reflect on our lives today, and maybe on our death; as we reflect on the lives and deaths of those we love let God have the last word. God defeats death. Alleluia, the Lord is Risen; He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia. And if you must have the last word say, sing, shout AMEN, SO BE IT.