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[Sermon] And I Hope

Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo + March 31, 2024 + Easter Day

Easter isn't just a date on the calendar but a profound celebration of transformation and renewal that embodies the promise of new beginnings and liberation from despair. Drawing from his own faith journey, Pastor Hector's Easter sermon encourages us to embrace the transformative power of resurrection, and invites us to join in the ongoing journey of renewal and hope, both individually and collectively.


From automatically generated captions via YouTube, with punctuation and paragraphs added by ChatGPT.

Grace to you and peace from God our creator and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Our Savior and Lord. And we said, "Amen."

You know me by this time, that I am no one of the happy Easter people. And the reason I say that is not because I want you to believe like me, but it is a conviction that I have come to embrace in my life. Because I think that my journey, Faith Journey but also my personal Journey, has led me to believe that Easter, the resurrection of the Lord, it is not only a date in this, uh, one more day in the list of holiday days of the calendar of our country. It is the celebration of something that we do not fully understand, but that has deep implications in the lives, not only of me as individual of us as congregation but for the entire creation.

It is a celebration that brings to us a power of transformation and life that you and I cannot understand and maybe cannot find in anything else around us. And therefore, the only way that I can see and talk about Easter and Resurrection is to say that this blessing that the disciples and the women experienced that day, that morning, is the same blessing that today, once again, we receive. And for that, we say, "He Is Risen indeed, Allelujah."

For the past few weeks during the Wednesday Services, we were singing with the Holden Vespers The Magnificat, where we were singing and retelling the story of the day when the spirit come came to me, Mary, to tell her that she was going to have a baby. We were singing and we were thinking and we were reflecting that as people were asking for an army, for a messiah, from a liberator, for something that will give them Peace and Freedom and Justice. God heard the people, and people responded by sending a child, by ask actually coming in a child named Jesus. And in the lyrics of what we were singing, there is a line that has been stuck in my brain and in my heart since then, and this is a revolution in your womb, a revolution in your womb. What type of Revolution was that?

Revolutions inspire people, revolutions transform things, revolutions being new realities to people. And I think that that's what happened in the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, his life, his suffering, and his resurrection. And therefore, you and I are here today, yes, as we said yesterday, the Lord Jesus Christ saw the people and he said, "So you have not pain, but I, I will see you again, and your hearts will, will rejoice, and no one will take away away your joy from you."

Last night, we're reminded that God has not brought us this far by faith to leave us in the Tomb. Therefore, you and I cannot stop from singing because our hearts Rejoice, more importantly, no one even death can take away the joy in our hearts in us, nothing can separate us from the love, not even death, even though when the powerful thought that they, in their world at that time and this time and all time, they think that they had everything under control, that the instrument of death had served its purpose, their instrument of control is proved powerless by the Love, by the grace, by the compassion, and by the mercy of these or these God, our God of love.

Peter heard the news from the women. He jumps on his feet and he runs to the tomb, and then the others hear the story, and they don't believe. Actually, in Greek, the word that is Idle tale that is translated as an idle tale means garbage. So if we were going to translate it into the nice English from England, it would be something like, "That was a bunch of rubbish, a bunch of garbage." So what was the force that propelled the women and Peter to go to the tomb? Did Peter and the women go because they believe or because they doubt?

I believe that it doesn't matter why because I believe that many of us maybe are in the same shoes, maybe we are here because we believe but also because without doubt and the answer is it doesn't matter why.

You know, my background coming from a Latin American country and when I read this passage, it takes me to think of some of the songs, especially during the 70s and 80s in Latin America. At that time, the Uruguayan poet and writer Mario Benedetti wrote a poem that, in Spanish, the title in Spanish is for can directly translated means "why we sing." But the idea behind these words in Spanish goes beyond that, it conveys the idea why we keep on singing.

Why we keep on singing when we were facing the oppression, the Desolation, the intervention of foreign policies sadly from our country here that were changing regimes, eliminating governments, imposing sanctions, and bringing chaos in peoples in Latin America because they didn't one aligned with our positions in this country, the social fabric was destroyed hopelessness subjection to the of entire peoples in Latin America occurred at that time.

So this poem that he wrote, it speaks of the desire of the people in Latin America for peace and justice and the hope that will allow them to keep singing in the face of violence pain and loss let me share just a few words of this poem to give you an idea what he was inviting us and where I find why the force that keeps makes us keep singing he starts by saying if each hour brings its death if time is a den of Thieves the breeze carries a scent of evil and life is just a moving Target you will ask why we sin if you if our finest people are shunned our homeland is dying of sorrow and the human heart is shattered you will ask why we sing and the answer to that is we sing because the river is humming and when the river hums the river hums we sing because cruelty has no name but we can name its Destiny we sing because the child because everything because the future because the people we sing because the survivors and our death want us to sing.

Life emerges from the depths of death and despair our Norms patterns and practices are disrupted a new order the order of life is in place and you and I are part of this new order of Life the women run back to tell the disciples and and Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb what was the force that drove them to go to the tomb and go back to the others to conclude I would like to in your bulletin you have this picture this picture that was painted by a Russian artist Nikolai G the title of this of this P of this painting is Heralds of the Resurrection this painting depicts the events that immediately preceded The Hope feel raised to the tomb and in the picture you will see many details that we can spend the rest of the day I don't think that you can stay but we can put it to a vote and we can stay now no we we you can take the picture with you and reflect and look but you will see I I want to point out just a couple of things that I think that are important for us to remember on this Easter Sunday if you notice many people say that that woman who you see in white is Mary Magdalene that she looks like a little bird that is ready to.

Fly think about that and think about the power of Easter and Resurrection the other piece that is important is the light and the Darkness who is in the light and who is in the darkness in the light is Mary Magdalene in the darkness are the Roman soldiers but let's go back to Mary Magdalene if you notice she is wearing a white tunic it is important to notice that because most of the time Mary Magdalene is associated with what sin Brokenness etc etc that is a reflection of how the women were seen and treated right in this in this painting she's wearing a white tonic that represents the newness of the new the the newness of Life the transformation and the New Order the light that allows us to see the truth of the love of God for all creation then you will notice that her hair is kind of flying and she seems to be going against something I believe and that's how I see it and others see it that she may be rushing to tell others what she had experience in the garden by the tomb with the Lord Jesus or others say maybe her her her her hair is flying because that represents how the New Order it is going against the old order that wants to take things back to where they were Easter people we are transformed we are moving forward we live in the light A Renewed relationship with God with one another and the entire creation has begun the entire creation seeing mountains streets rivers and valleys is as we sang last night in our Easter Vigil service why does the entire creation keep on singing why do we sing it is because we know that he lives he lives with us is with us today tomorrow and always we are finally United in Christ and because he lives we can face tomorrow and for that we say hallelujah Christ is risen hallelujah amen.

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