Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here's an excerpt from Sunday's Earth Day sermon by the Rev. Joe Hensley. To see the whole sermon, go to our webpage:

St. Luke's youth connecting with creation.
What did the resurrection do for us? In this morning's Gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples and they can't get their minds around the fact that he's back in flesh and blood. They think they're seeing a ghost, and Jesus shows them his body, he eats in their presence. He's trying to do everything he can to prove it to them, but they still don't quite believe, they can't get their minds around it. And then Jesus does something unprecedented in scripture. He opens their minds. Luke tells us that he opened their minds to understand everything that was written about him in the scriptures. Jesus opens their minds to see this conversation that's been happening from Moses to the prophets to the poems of the Psalmists, these voices speaking across millennia in a interconnected web of conversation about a savior, about a change coming to the world, about something new. Jesus doesn't just give those disciples a new thought about him. He doesn't just plant a new thought, he changes their whole way of thinking.

When Jesus opens their minds, he changes the way they think altogether. So then Jesus tells his disciples to go and proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins. And that word "repentance" literally it means a turning of the mind. We think of repentance like "I'm sorry, God." It's something much deeper and more profound. It's about a revolutionary changing of the mind. Not just, "Well, I changed my mind," not just, "I shifted my position or my opinion on such-and-such issue or concern," but a true transformation in the way we think. So when the risen Christ invites his followers to repent of sin, he's not just inviting them to say I'm sorry to God, he's inviting them into a whole new way of thinking about sin. No longer must we make our daily, weekly, yearly confession in order to be reconciled to God, to bring about peace between us and God. Through the risen Christ, that has already happened. We have been reconciled to God. Our sins have been wiped away and forgiven. Any confession we make after Easter is not to bring about reconciliation, but to remind us of the reconciliation and the peace that already has been made for us...

...But going back to Earth Day, going back to how we are stuck in our ecological messes that we've made, I think part of our being stuck is that we're waiting for an opening of the mind. We keep trying to change our thoughts without changing our thinking. We keep coming up with lots of ideas and thoughts about how to do things better. We can change from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents, we can go from internal combustion engines to electric cars, we can go from coal energy to solar energy and we can take our own bags to the grocery store and those are all great things to do and we need to do them, but those are just the thoughts. When our way of thinking is changed, when are minds are opened, then we will begin to see that interconnected web of relationships, those voices speaking to one another across the eons, from the smallest particles to the greatest galaxies, from the tiniest microbes to our bodies. Changing of the mind, seeing the relationships of all creatures, that we are not in conflict with one another, we are actually in harmony with one another, but our minds are closed to see how those relationships work.

So on this Earth Day, in this season of Easter, we pray for an Easter mind, an open mind, a mind changed through the risen Christ.

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