A sermon given on Easter Day at the 8am BCP Eucharist and 10am Choral Eucharist by The Right Reverend Chris McLeod, Dean
He is risen!
Court room dramas often centre of the testimony of witnesses. Did they really see what they say they saw? Clever lawyers try to discredit the witnesses. Are they reliable; can they be trusted? Does the jury have the confidence in the ‘truth’ being told, or conversely, being withheld? Often the only tangible evidence is the testimony of the witness, and their perception of what took place.
Something like this is going on in the three readings we have this morning. In Acts, Peter gives his evidence. He claims that he and the other Apostles were ‘chosen by God as witnesses’ (Acts 10: 40). In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that the risen Jesus appeared to Peter, more than 500 people at one time, then James, then all the Apostles, and then lastly, himself (1 Cor. 15: 5-8). In the Gospel reading (John 20: 1-18), Mary Magdalene witnesses the risen Jesus, and converses with him. However, Mary is not a reliable witness as it was a patriarchal world during her time; women’s testimonies would be discredited. Yet, nonetheless, we have lined up before us in the Bible a list of witnesses to the experience of the risen Jesus.
The evidence is credible, and throughout the centuries the Church has given witness to the presence of the risen Jesus in our midst. We have our own testimonies, as well, sometimes difficult to put into words, but credible nonetheless: we have experienced something of the risen Jesus in our lives. This is the tradition that the Church has handed on down through the centuries, and the reason why we gather today. Jesus is risen and he is with us!