Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sermon - The Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020

The readings for the day can be found by clicking here

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020
Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” and he raises Lazarus to new life. This is Good News and gives us all hope.

If we believe that the Good News of Jesus and God’s ability to bring life after death is only about the end of our mortal lives, we miss the Good News available to us right now. God’s ability to bring life from death is about more than the end of our lives. It is about here and now also!

The story from John’s Gospel is not only about what Jesus does once at the end of our lives. God through Jesus brings life from death. Not only at the end of our physical life, but here and now, again and again.

Paul reminds the Romans that the spirit of Christ will raise their bodies from death. He means not just at life’s end, but in all the endings in our lives. The living spirit keeps raising us to life all the time.

And our reading from the book of Ezekiel gives us the same message in a different and powerful way. Ezekiel’s vision is for God’s people in exile. They felt dry, isolated and separated from God.
There was no life left in them. In this living death, God sends the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to them. Ezekiel speaks to their dry and lifeless bones. God’s spirit reanimates their bones and restores their very flesh. God breathes life back into their restored bodies. God brings new life in their hopeless and desperate state. Through breath and spirit, God restores life to what has died.

All of today’s readings point to this truth. God brings life out of death. In whatever ways, we are dead, or separated from God – When we think it is too late for God to help – When our lives feel ended - God comes and breathes life on us.

God through Jesus brings us new life when we die – Thanks be to God! But God also brings new life here and now, in the deaths that happen this side of the tomb. God is able to bring new life to our dry and lifeless bodies now.

Nothing is impossible for God in his great love for us through Jesus.

As Jesus assures Martha, he assures us, “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” This is Good News when we die and it is Good News now.