This Sunday we will celebrate the sacrament of Baptism.
The Scripture passage for this week is 1 Corinthians 15:1-26, 51-57
The Sermon title is L'Chaim
Early Thoughts: 6 weeks ago we began the Easter Season with the story of women visiting
the tomb, finding it empty, being told of Resurrection and then fleeing
in terror. Now, on the last Sunday of the Easter Season we listen to
Paul tell the Corinthians what Resurrection means.
Part of me would like to read the whole 58 verses of chapter 15. I
think we miss out on the full strength of Paul's argument when we skip
those central verses (we miss the spiritual body and the physical body
as well as the seed imagery-- although that does tend to lead into a
dualistic approach to body and soul/spirit). But then there would be
even more options to choose from as a sermon hook. As it is there are
plenty to choose from. In fact I suspect one could use 1 Corinthians 15
as your primary text for the whole Easter season...lots of sermons in that chapter.
One of the themes in this chapter is the idea of victory. Conquering the last enemy. This idea
of victory is an ancient understanding of Easter. In opening the tomb
and raising Christ God shatters the power of death. I suggest that we
still live in a culture where death and dying are sources of terror.
Maybe we are afraid of the death of our loved ones or ourselves. Maybe
we fear for the death of our church, or our service club, or some other
organization. But theoretically as people of Easter faith we should no
longer be afraid of death because we know that life wins. In the end
life still wins. How do our lives show that we believe that death no
longer has the victory, that death has lost its sting?
Not to mention that this is the passage where we find "The last enemy to be destroyed is death", which is inscribed on the tombstone of James and Lily Potter. When they find this Harry and Hermione have a discussion about what it means, about how death is destroyed.
The sermon title is a Hebrew toast, literally meaning to life. As we stand in the Easter season, as we proclaim that God has conquered death, what other statement of faith could we share but l'chaim?