St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church

3800 East Third Street

Bloomington, Indiana 47401

(812) 332-5252


Sermon for the Resurrection of Our Lord (April 5, 2015)

Liturgical Color: White

Reverende Doctor Lyle E. McKee


This World Should End

Alleluia! Christ is risen! [Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!]

While perusing Facebook last week, I came across a piece by rapper Prince Ea. And as rarely as I post things, I posted the song with the simple comment "Some truth."

The more I think about it, the more I think what Prince Ea says is an Easter message.

Here are the lyrics to his piece, called "Why I Think This World Should End":

The world is coming to an end.

The air is polluted, the oceans contaminated.

The animals are going extinct, the economy's collapsed.

Education is shot, police are corrupt.

Intelligence is shunned and ignorance rewarded.

The people are depressed and angry.

We can't live with each other, and we can't live with ourselves;

We pass each other on the streets,

And if we do speak, it's meaningless robotic communication

More people want 15 seconds of fame

Than a lifetime of meaning and purpose,

Because what's popular is more important than what's right.

Ratings are more important than the truth.

Our government builds twice as many prisons as schools.

It's easier to find a Big Mac than an apple,

And when you find the apple

It's been genetically processed and modified.

Presidents lie, politicians trick us,

Race is still an issue and so is religion.

"Your God doesn't exist, my God does, and he is All-Loving.

If you disagree with me I'll kill you,

Or even worse argue you to death."

92% of songs on the radio are about sex.

Kids don't play tag, they play twerk videos.

The average person watches 5 hours of television a day,

And it's more violence on the screen than ever before.

Technology has given us everything we could ever want,

And at the same time stolen everything we really need.

Pride is at an all-time high; humility, an all-time low.

Everybody knows everything, everybody's going somewhere,

Ignoring someone, blaming somebody.

Not many human beings left anymore, a lot of human doings.

Plenty of human lingerings-in-the-past, not many human beings.

Money is still the root of all evil;

Yet we tell our kids, "Don't get that degree.

The jobs don't pay enough."

Good deeds are only done when there's a profit margin.

Videos of the misfortunes of others go viral.

We laugh and share them with our friends to laugh with us.

Our role models today

60 years ago would have been examples of what not to be.

There are states where people can legally be discriminated against

Because they were born a certain way.

Companies invest millions of dollars hiring specialists to make

Little girls feel like they need "make up" to be beautiful,

Permanently lowering their self esteem

Because they will never be pretty enough

To meet those impossible standards.

Corporations tell us, "Buy, buy, buy, get this, get that.

You must keep up, you must fit in.

This will make you happy." But it never does for long.

So what can we do in the face of all of this madness and chaos?

What is the solution? We can love.

Not the love you hear in your favorite song on the radio.

I mean real love, true love, boundless love.

You can love. Love each other

From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.

Perform an act of kindness because that is contagious.

We can be mindful during every interaction,

Planting seeds of goodness,

Showing a little more compassion than usual.

We can forgive,

Because 300 years from now will that grudge you hold against

Your friend, your mother, your father have been worth it?

Instead of trying to change others, we can change ourselves.

We can change our hearts.

We have been sold lies,

Brainwashed by our leaders and those we trust

To not recognize our brothers and sisters

And to exhibit anger, hatred and cruelty.

But once we truly love, we will meet anger with sympathy,

Hatred with compassion, cruelty with kindness.

Love is the most powerful weapon on the face of the Earth.

Robert Kennedy once said that

Few will have the greatness to bend history,

But each of us can work to change a small portion of events.

And the total of all those acts

Will be written in the history of a generation.

So yes, the world is coming to an end.

And the path towards a new beginning starts within you

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think Jesus would say "Amen" to this. I think Jesus would say that this young man gets it. He understands what Jesus was coming into the world to say and do, to live and die and be resurrected for. Love. It's the new commandment we heard from the lips of our Lord just three days ago: "Love one another as I have loved you."

Jesus saw a world that had to end. So he lived and taught in a way that challenged that world. And they killed him for it.

And yet, the message got through—to a few. Even death could not kill the message or the messenger. The truth and the truth-teller were resurrected. The stone of repression was rolled away, and the cave of ignorance and forgetfulness and cruelty was illuminated with a dazzling brilliance. And the message got through to those few. And they passed it on. And it caught fire. It went viral. And we are the grateful beneficiaries of that Earth-shaking, culture-transforming, politically-dangerous, relationship-centered, and creation-renewing message that still hangs in cyber-space and in our hearts despite the best efforts of the world to squash it.

Mark tells a simple and disturbing resurrection story. We are left only with "terror and amazement." Which begs the thoroughly Lutheran question, "What does this mean?"

I believe the meaning that Mark wants us to get circles back to the beginning of the story he tells, where Jesus preaches his very first sermon. That sermon is short enough for people to pay attention and profound enough to keep us in wonder and awe at its meaning lo these millennia later.

Jesus, Mark tells us, "came into Galilee, preaching the good news of God, saying 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the good news.'"

Prince Ea echoes those words in the poetry of today, calling us to repent of the ways we live, inviting us to look again, and urging us to follow a new and transformative path.

But once we truly love, we will meet anger with sympathy,

Hatred with compassion, cruelty with kindness.

Love is the most powerful weapon on the face of the Earth.

Robert Kennedy once said that

Few will have the greatness to bend history,

But each of us can work to change a small portion of events.

And the total of all those acts

Will be written in the history of a generation.

So yes, the world is coming to an end.

And the path towards a new beginning starts within you

The gospel is just about everywhere, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at this time of year precisely because it is so easy to see how everything is changing so radically in the springtime. The cold and gray of winter (and plenty of white, on occasion) turn astoundingly and stunningly into the buds and blossoms, leaves and shoots of burgeoning life. Death is only a shadow, a blanket, a temporary covering over the great stored power and potential energy of the new life that yearns to emerge.

So, indeed, may the old world come to an end. And may the newly-risen love of God plant the seeds of a new world.

May the new life that comes to us this Easter begin within us and make all things new.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! [Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!]

Amen.

 

 

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