Sermon

John 19:38-42

We Reach It by a Leap

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John 19:38-42

We Reach It by a Leap

The Rev. Charles Hoffacker

The Bible opens
with a majestic story of creation.
God speaks into existence
the various orders of creatures.

God creates over the course of six days.
The seventh day is when God rests
from all the work he has done.

This creation account
is a basis for the Jewish Sabbath,
Saturday as a holy day of rest.

The original Sabbath as kept by God
is thus a conclusion
to his work of creation.
It is also the commencement
of the world as we know it.

Today is Saturday, the Sabbath.
It is the Sabbath
our church calendar calls
Holy Saturday.

Many of us will not experience it
as a day of rest.
Yet we can remember the unique way
in which today is a Sabbath.

In the collect at the start of this service
what did we remind God the Father about?
We said that
the crucified body of your dear Son
was laid in a tomb
and rested on this holy Sabbath. 

The first Sabbath
follows creation.

This other Sabbath
follows crucifixion.

The first Sabbath
marks a conclusion
to the work of creation.

This other Sabbath
marks a conclusion
to the lifetime of our Savior.

Each Sabbath is, however,
more than a conclusion.
It is also a commencement.

The first Sabbath
is the commencement
of the world as we know it.

This other Sabbath, today,
looks ahead to the new world
we are about to celebrate.

God creates the world as we know it
in six days
then rests on the seventh.
This is the story from Genesis.

The Gospel starts there,
then takes a leap.

On the seventh day,
not only does God rest from creation,
but the crucified body of Jesus rests in the tomb.
Here we have
not simply a conclusion,
but a disaster,
the death of the future.

But a new day
is about to begin.
An unexpected day.

It will be the eighth day
after the seven that precede it.
It will also be the first day
of a new week,
the first day
of a new creation.

That day will be strange.
It will have a sunrise,
but not a sunset.
As the first day of a new world,
it will render the old world obsolete.
What’s coming at us
is a second creation, an everlasting Sabbath,
where death will be no more.

Now we wait for that day.
Yet waiting is not sufficient.
We reach it only through a leap,
the leap we call faith.

Copyright, 2015, Charles Hoffacker.  Used by permission.