Love So Amazing, So Divine, Part II
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
April 16, 2017 Easter
Psalm 118; Isaiah 65:17-19, 25; John 20:1-18
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
Jesus rising from the dead; wolves and lambs feeding together; no one hurting or destroying on all this holy earth: Easter is about a magic, a love so amazing, so divine that it leads to miraculous peace and joy. You would think the world would see this beautiful, harmonious vision and feel this amazing, divine power and give its soul, its life, its all, and follow its way.
The problem is that Easter’s path is in competition with other paths that seem just as magical in their ends but more conventional in their means. Easter’s path is the reverse of violence, it is the path of nonviolence, but our culture’s violent path is so often the magic we choose.
Children discover at an early age that violence works like magic. Two pre-school brothers were at a family gathering. The four-year-old saw his three-year-old brother playing on the floor with a few wooden blocks. He walked over, plopped down, and grabbed the blocks. Then he turned his back and began playing with them while his little brother sat stunned.
The little boy looked as if he might cry, but instead after reflecting for a few seconds, he turned, picked up the entire box of blocks and dumped them on his brother’s head. Then he began happily playing with something else, as his brother plotted his next attack.
As if by magic, violence got the older boy what he wanted. He wanted the blocks, and maybe he wanted to annoy his little brother, and violence got him both. Then the younger boy did his own magic trick—he made all his frustration and humiliation disappear with a simple flick of violent revenge.
The deep magic of violence goes all the way back to the dawn of time. Adam and Eve ate the illegal apple in the Garden of Eden and then hid from God, doing violence to their relationships and the harmony of the world. One of their sons killed the other out of greed and pride. The human race began a spiral of violence that seems to have no escape.
But if we go farther back in the Genesis story we find a deeper magic from before the dawn of time. Continue reading Sermon, April 16, 2017 Easter 10 AM Service