Easter 1997 Sermon Given at St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland by the late Archbishop John T Cahoon, Jr., Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church, Bishop of the DMAS, and Rector of St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland

We have spent much of Lent thinking about the crowd, but there was no crowd around Jesus on the first Easter morning. That is one of the reasons the New Testament doesn't have a description of the actual moment of the resurrection. We've seen pictures of Jesus coming up out of his tomb or emerging from the cave where he was buried with soldiers lying around asleep. But those pictures are just speculation.

The arresting thing about the section of St. John's Gospel we read on Easter is that Jesus is not in it. The Gospel describes a tomb, and Jesus is not in it either. Jesus' two closest associates, St. Peter and St. John, are running to the tomb to check out a story.

The story came from their friend Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb herself earlier in the morning--to pray or to grieve or to finish the perfuming and embalming job that got cut off Friday afternoon. When Mary saw that the stone which had sealed the cave was now rolled away, she concluded that someone had stolen Jesus' body.

She came to tell Peter and John, and it is just possible that she thought they did it. The Jewish leaders were certainly afraid that someone was going to steal Jesus' body. The reason there are sleeping soldiers in pictures of the resurrection is that the chief priests and Pharisees got the Roman governor to assign them to guard duty the day before.

They told Pontius Pilate, in the delicious words of the King James Version, "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, when he was yet alive, 'After three days. I will rise again.' Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, 'He is risen from the dead': so the last error shall be worse than the first."

The disciples did say unto the people, "He is risen from the dead," but it was no error, and it was not because they had stashed the corpse somewhere no one could find it. The disciples said Jesus had risen from the dead, because he did rise from the dead, and they saw him and they talked with him and they ate with him.

I have believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus for a long time now. I don't have much difficulty taking the New Testament at face value. I am impressed that the people who claimed they saw Jesus alive again after he was dead were willing to be killed themselves rather than deny it. I perceive the live Jesus when I receive Holy Communion, and in the persistence of the church for two thousand years despite the best efforts of human beings to wreck it, and I know I am experiencing Christ's resurrection when God forgives my sins.

But I also find an argument St. Paul makes quite appealing, because he reminds me what I would lose if I did not believe in the resurrection.

He writes, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

In other words, if there is no resurrection--either of Jesus then or of us when Jesus comes back--then the Christian religion is a blasphemous waste of time, I am stuck with my sins, the dead people I was looking forward to seeing again are just lost and gone, and the only place I can look for hope is in this world--not a promising prospect, given the morning newspaper and what I know about history, and the condition of my mind and my heart.

So I am going to stick with the old country gospel song whose refrain goes, "Somebody stole his body?! It must have been the Lord," and I am going to stick with my friend St. Paul, because he assures me, "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast.
Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but
with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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Today, Good Friday, April 7, 12 noon and  7:00 PM services
Confessions will be heard starting one hour before each Good Friday service.

Easter Sunday, April 9, Striking of the New Fire at 7:15 AM

Easter Sunday, April 9, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, and 11:15 AM services (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/)

Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing

Vestry Meeting, Monday, April 24, 7:30 PM

Men's Group, Saturday, April 29, 8:30 AM, Breakfast, Fellowship, Bible Study

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Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 
 Recently Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes* (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1*, 2, 3*, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment*
Baby shampoo*
Baby blankets*
Spring/Summer clothing for 0-3 months and 2T*
(Bold and  * are a critical need.)

Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T
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