Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Community of Resurrection’
“The believing community manifests the risen Christ: it does not simply talk about him, or even ‘celebrate’ him. It is the place where he is shown” (Rowan Williams, “Communities of Resurrection”).
Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter, the beloved disciple, the “brothers and sisters” – our Gospel is about the community, the place where the risen Christ is shown. The showing takes place, first, in a garden. How apt, then, that our Easter Candle comprises a stand that is a gift of our Eden gardeners. How apt, that our Candle was lit last night in the warm fires of inter-
There can be a tendency to over-
If resurrection is about a love that survives death, I am led to a place of love that I might better apprehend it. I am led to the believing community – to the Church.
A while back we had some work done to repair a leaky roof and damaged walls here. The plasterer applied what is called “sacrificial plaster” and I assured Alana that this was the substance of a soon-
Sacrificial plaster refers to a soft plaster applied to water-
We might say, by analogy, that Christ draws out corrosive salts, moisture and mould from our common life – prejudice, racism, impatience, hostility, selfishness, small-
What is seen (in the Spirit of resurrection) is the people of God repaired, reconstructed; the Church reformed, renewed – the opening of a space for forgiveness and nonviolence, resistance, courage, hospitality and joy – spontaneous, uninhibited joy.
We see scarred and discoloured walls reminding us of our woundedness and mortality; marking for us a space of healing.
We see imperfectly rendered walls, soft and porous, a symbol of Christian community in which imperfections are accepted and forgiven, in which life is porous – allowing the light of wisdom from without, allowing fresh air for creativity within – allowing individuals (and their personal experiences and convictions) the freedom to come and go, the freedom to change and grow.
We see the Church as a God-
“Only a penitent Church can manifest forgiven-
We see a porous community in which not guilt but conversion is valued and sought … converted action … “The Church … addresses itself to all human violence, in all human beings. If it is to be itself, it has no option but to live in penitence, in critical self-
We see a porous community in which “… no one’s failure is theirs alone, and … no failure can put an end to the relation of mutual gift that is the ground of the community’s life” (Rowan Williams). Prophecy which flows from such a place is authentically a form of non-
Last night when he introduced the screening of Romero, Juan recounted that the Archbishop set up an office in the cathedral, with legal professionals, staff and resources to provide a disempowered and persecuted people with information, with access to the truth of their political situation. It struck me that we have very similar opportunities to make Church resources available that all might access information pertinent to their lives. That in and through commitments to journalism, activism and the arts, hospitality and care for creation, we might help to make information, food, shelter, accessible; that we might help to foster and affirm a sense of vocation and dignity in those most disempowered by a cut-
I saw the Church anew as a place of protest, safety, inquiry, mutual service, truth-
I heard anew the call of God in Christ the Saviour to protect the most vulnerable. I heard, in the Spirit of Romero’s witness to Christ the Shepherd, that our task is not to help “run the country” but to “prevent the suffering and killing” of the people entrusted to our care.
I heard anew the profession of Easter faith. “My life has been threatened many times. I have to confess that as a Christian, I don’t believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people. I’m not boasting or saying this out of pride, but rather as humbly as I can.” Amen.