Sermon - April 12, 2020 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – April 12, 2020

The Holy Eucharist: Rite Two

The Word of God:

Celebrant: Alleluia. Christ is risen.
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.       

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of you Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Nama; through Christ our Lord. Amen

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.

Almighty God, who through you only begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

Hymn: Christ the Lord has risen today

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once up on the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia! 
Now above the sky he’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love, Alleluia!
Praise him, all ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

The Lessons:

A Reading from Acts 10: 34-43

Peter began to speak to Cornelius and the other Gentiles: “I truly understand that God shows on partiality, but in very nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and In Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24

I. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures forever.
2. Let Israel now proclaim, “His mercy endures forever.”
14. The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation. 
15. There is a sound of exultation and victory in the tents of the righteous:
16.” The right hand of the Lord has triumphed!” the right hand of the Lord is exalted! The right hand of the Lord has triumphed!”
17. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
18. The Lord has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death.
19. Open for me the gates of righteousness, I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord.
20. “This is the gate of the Lord; he who is righteous may enter.”
21. I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation.
22. The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23. This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24. On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

The Epistle

A reading from Paul’s letters to the Colossians

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; according to John.

John 20: 1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one who Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Women, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Homily:

Easter Sunday 

Year A
April 12, 2020

First Reading: Acts 10: 34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10: 34-43
Gospel: John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

In the name of the + Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

Normally before Easter Sunday morning, we would have had a busy week at the church itself, following Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday…all of us entering the church with palms waving in remembrance and following Jesus and his humble entrance, into Jerusalem, on a donkey.

Holy week is a time where Christians recall the events leading up to Jesus’ death by crucifixion and according to our faith, his Resurrection.  

For some of us it would be a week of Prayer, observing Maundy Thursday, the last supper and foot washing, Good Friday, Jesus dies on the Cross, Holy Saturday where we recognize that Jesus would have been lying in a tomb.

This year we still celebrate the Easter “not” in our churches and with our congregation, but on social media and websites and with uncertainty of how this virus has completely stopped our “normal flow of things” our normal way of life.

Images of Churches empty are spread across the new media.

The Pope in St. Peter’s square…normally hundreds of people fill the square to hear and feel the Easter celebrations, Christ has died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again.

But the Pope is alone and no large gathering this year! 

Before Jesus was arrested and led way for his trial and persecution on the cross, he had gone off to pray. In Mark 14:36 he prays “Yet, not what I want, but what you want”

In our own lives we often make judgments about, why things happen to us without fully knowing the breadth of God’s plan for us.  

The Gospel:

Our Gospel reading when the Mary Magdalene, found the tomb empty and so distraught that the tomb was empty and her Lord was not there. Where is he? What have you done with my Lord?   

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary felt helpless and they were over whelmed with grief and fear. They already were lost by his death and now to lose his body was unthinkable!

The disciples had gone back to their homes and were hiding in fear and disbelief, their hopes and dreams gone, because they did not quit understand. 

The Mary’s and the disciples soon realize that Christ has risen! And Joy consumes them!

When the Mary’s realized it was Jesus, they took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

They reacted in the appropriate way…in worship!  

Today’s Lesson:

In the last couple of months, we are faced with challenging times. 

Some people are far worse off than others, who perhaps have a roof over their head and a steady income.  

I read a piece by Richard Rohr in 2019, that the latest global statistic shows that if one has a roof over his head and a meal on the table, he is richer than 93 percent of the world’s population. 

When reading the Gospel lessons, the thought of Mary being separated from Jesus his death on the cross and suffering was bad enough, now she is separated from his body.

So many people today in the last month have suffered in this way, just as Mary and at the exact same time that Jesus suffered. 

They have had loved ones go to the hospitals and then never to be seen again, they have no body to say good bye too. 

I thought of the loss of hope when Jesus died, the disciples not yet understanding and how they retreated to their homes in fear…what just happened? We were just with him on Thursday having our last supper with him!

A parishioner told me about John Meacham, author and prominent Episcopalian. He points out that early Christians practiced self-isolation out of fear of persecution by the Romans and Jewish priest. They met in the catacombs and homes. So, we are following historic precedent.

This is how life is right now, but God has never left us. God met the Mary’s at the tomb and God turns it around to Hope and Joy that he lives for us.

We as Christians can remind people that there will be hope and joy again, even in this time of despair.  God offers us eternal life and a place in the kingdom of heaven.


This Covid-19 virus, as bad as it is, has helped us put things in priority.

Our earth is healing and the pollution is less, with fewer cars, trains, trucks and planes on the roads and in the air.

Instead of us focusing on heroes on the football field, the basketball court, the baseball field and other sports.

Our heroes are the nurses and doctors, lab assistants, housekeepers, scientist, store clerks and stockers of the shelves. The truck drivers and dock workers and those who help load and unload.

As always, you see the faith community helping those in need to feed those who have lost jobs or the less fortunate.

Jesus death and suffering, we are seeing death and suffering at the same time.  Over a million people worldwide have lost their lives and millions of lives have changed forever.

We are experiencing the truth teachings of Jesus Christ in people today on how Jesus taught love and compassion and how we are to treat others, taking care of our neighbors as our selves.

We learned that being content with things we have, means we as believers trust and have confidence in God.

We know that all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

St. Paul means, not that all circumstances of this life are good for us, but that amid all these things God’s purpose prevails.

There is no sugar coating the situation that our world faces, with the pandemic and the tanking economy. 

With believing in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ we will have hope for tomorrow.

My prayer is, we as, a country, a city a community, we will all! come out stronger for it. 

That we will turn our lives around an be better people inviting God into our lives and serving people every day, not just during a crisis.

Rev. Lola Culbreath

The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Celebrant Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
People I do.

Celebrant Do you believe in God the Father?
People I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. 
He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Celebrant Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?    
People I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant Will you proclaim by word and example the Good news of God in Christ?
People I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help.

May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

The Peace

The Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving

Eucharistic Prayer A

The Lord be with you.
And also, with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
+Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, you only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciple, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

+ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. + Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.

And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say.

Our Father, who ae in haven, 
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those
Who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; 
Therefore, let us keep the feast.

The Gifts of God for the People of God. 
Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.
The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and Remain with you forever.