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377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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Easter Day/Principal Service

  • To:
  • Subject: Easter Day/Principal Service
  • From: Grant Mauricio Gallup <grant73@turbonett.com.ni>
  • Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2007 18:44:24 -0600

                     Easter Day Principal Service 2007

H o m i l y   G r i t
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame
death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:  Grant that we, who
celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised
> from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now
for ever.  Amen.

¶ Book of Common Prayer Lectionary:
Acts 10: 34-43 I truly understand that God shows no partiality. 
 or Isaiah 51: 9-11 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the
Psalm 118:14-19 or 118:14-17, 22-24 The Lord is my strength and my 
 Colossians 3:1-4  So if you have been raised with Christ, seek
things that are above.
 or Acts 10:34-43 as above
Luke 24:1-10 Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is
here, but has risen.

I hadn't been out of bed but a few minutes on Easter Day 1989 when the
telephone rang--it was the hospital calling to tell me that Bill
our organist at St Andrew's for a quarter of a century, had died just
before seven o'clock.  His ancient heart had finally given up the
struggle.  I had called an ambulance to take him the day before the
short trip from his apartment in the Senior Citizens' Center across the
alley--a high-rise building we called Terminal Towers--to the Medical
Center just across the expressway. I remembered when he had phoned me
frantically from that same apartment one day several years beore that
when the Sullivan Center caught fire;  he was in his apartment and
leaning out the window, and I told him to get wet towels and stuff them
round his doorway, and to turn on his bathroom shower and all his
and to come back and lean out the window with a wet towel over his head. 
Out my window, I watched him across the parking lot and high above the
street, in his window,  while he did this.   In about half
an hour, the
fire fighters came and led him away safely.  Now he had phoned
too  but for shortness of breath was able to say only the one word
"ambulance".  If life could be seized and held by sheer
Bill would have insisted upon coming home from the hospital to play
at his own funeral.  I had gone to the hospital on Easter Even to
see him
but he was being worked on at the moment:  the doctors were
inserting a
balloon pump.into his heart to keep it going.  I asked them to be
sure to
tell him that I'd come and in the morning they said they had done
so.   I
went then down the hospital corridor to visit another parishioner, an
diabetic lady named Clara, who had a leg amputated on Good Friday. 
brave old dear, in good spirits, who said that she missed her leg but
doesn't miss the pain it gave her. That's all gone now. And Bill used 
swear to me from his shortening breath, "I am going to lick this thing if
it's the last thing I do."  And it was the last thing he did.  Bill won
his battle at Easter.    Both Bill and Clara were in some deep way
waiting for their Easter Rising--this beauteous morning, as the earth is
in rebirth and new life, preening and flowering in the greening of
joy.  .Bill parted with all of his body and Clara with a part of hers, 
in order that they might yet live on this first day of the week.  

On the first day of the week at early dawn, Luke tells us the story, 
women who had come with Jesus from Galilee to the tomb, brought the
spices they had prepared.  Jesus' best friends then, as now, were
women--and it was they who came to anoint him with the usual ointments. 
Mary Magdalene had done this once before--with a flask of precious
spikenard,   for this was not embalming, in the Egyptian
manner,  but was
the same kind of respect paid to guests at a banquet, when scented oil
was poured on their heads of hair, to run down onto their robes, even
unto the hems of their garments,  lavishing them with perfume. 
Nard and
myrrh and aloes-wood,  brought from India.  John's gospel says
brought a hundred pounds of them, which could only mean that such a
quantity would have been laid in a tomb beside the body.  The body
was by
usual custom wrapped in a shroud, the face veiled with a soudarion, and
the body would have been carried to the grave by relatives,  led by
women.   Since Eve, a woman, had brought death into the world,
it was
thought appropriate in this culture for women to lead the procession to
the grave.   This may be why women were the first at the Lord's
tomb in
this account, and received their appointment as the first apostles of
Resurrection. They made ministry out of the oppression.  
"The tractate
Sabbath said that it was allowable, even on the day of rest, to do
'everything that is needed for the dead, to wash them and to anoint 
with perfumes.'  (1)  The earliest Church began to fulfill all
of these
requirements in its remembering of the events of these days,  in
of the malediction in Psalm 79:  "They have given the bodies of
servants as food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your
ones to the beasts of the field.   They have shed their blood
like water
on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury
them."  John
Dominic Crossan and other scholars have their doubts that the church
succeeded in avoiding this fate for their assassinated
rabbi.    In the
Holy Land of Nicaragua as well as that of Palestine, the climate is 
that the rites for the dead cannot be delayed for long.   We
need to know
that these women were,  like Jesus himself,  pious Jewish
believers, and
there was no belief in their hearts in the Immortality of the Soul. 
came to the tomb with spices, as we come with them in this story, 
preserve the Body of Jesus, for it had to be kept in recognizable
condition, it had to be identifiable, because in some way the body was
intimately connected with identity.   They did not believe in
"everlasting life"as we have come to affirm it as possible
apart from the
body.  The creeds in our prayer books don't affirm it apart from
Resurrection of the dead.  They were not affected by the ideas of
or of Greek philosophy, and had no notion that somehow the soul flew
at death to live with like-minded others in the sky, wearing a
robe and tuning up a harp or a harmonium, and somehow managed to keep
> from being bored in endless Sunday school classes beyond the sunset
over the rainbow.   For them, the body and the soul died
together and
went underground, for there was a place of departed spirits, and no Jew
looked forward to it.   Jesus and the Pharisees believed, like
in the Resurrection, and in Judgment day, when all the dead would be
raised together for an appearance in the heavenly court room and then
justice doers would enter into a wonderful and abundant life. 
then, however, there was no belief that the departed soul of the 
had gone anywhere away from the body.  So death continued to be a
a tragedy, and they could not console each other as we do, that the 
were in a better land, or a happier place or a fuller existence. 
they  went with spices, to do what they could do to show respect for
slaughtered body of their rabbi. 

The women find two men in brilliant clothing.  Mark says it was a
man in a white robe.  Matthew says it was an angel in snow-white
clothing, whose appearance was like a flash of lightning.  John
there were two of them in dazzling robes, one at each end of the great
stone upon which the body had lain.  Luke says there were two men,
and it
was their clothing that was dazzling.  Luke says the women were
frightened of these dazzling dudes, and bowed their faces to the
ground.   It was to be the last time these women found it
necessary to
bow down to the bedazzlement of dudes, no matter how exquisite their
robes.   Because from this moment, everything changes for

"Why are you looking for a living person here in a graveyard? 
Why do you
seek the living among the dead?  Don't you remember?  Well,
remember, he
told you, while he was still in Galilee.   Galilee is where
they had met
the rabbi, where they had all lived together.  Galilee was back
again in Indiana.  Galilee was down home in Alabama.  Galilee
was up home
in Superiorland, in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Galilee was
wherever we have come from.  It was there, where we knew him first,
summer camp, where we first walked with him at lakeside, where we heard
him say, "Come, follow me."
It was there, where we knew him and walked with him that we first heard
it all:  that the Son of Man, the truly Human One, was to be taken,
into the hands of the wicked,  and crucified.  He had taught us
to hope
for Resurrection and he had promised that what he stood for would 
his standing once more among us.   Not in heaven, but
here:  "Go to
Galilee, there they will see me."  The angel of Resurrection
announces an
end to our bowing and scraping, our grovelling, our fears.  The
of the ancient Church had continually to reaffirm the message of the
angels, for the pious have always believed that the best way to go to
is on our knees.   Not so, since Easter, say the angels. 
Not so, in
Eastertide at least, said council after council in the ancient Church. 
Kneeling in Eastertide is forbidden.  It is inappropriate. 
Stand up, as
the Sign of Resurrection.  Affirm the standing up of the body by
up.  The women were thus changed from frightened girls with heads
before men in dazzling uniforms, to stand and become the first 
of Resurrection.  It was Mary Magdalene, Luke says, as if to rub it
and Joanna and Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them
who told this to the male apostles themselves.   The first ones
sent from
the tomb had to be raised off their knees from their servility to well
dressed gentlemen.   Remember what he taught you in Galilee,
and it is
this remembrance, this calling up into their early morning moment, that
enables them to leave the empty tomb with their embalming left undone,
unnecessary, and now running off the first edition of their gospel of
spectacular good news.  

Peter tells us what it is that is raised up from Joseph's tomb in his
sermon in the book of Acts:  it was the One who was from Nazareth,
insignificant town down the road, of which it had been asked for
centuries, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  It
was the One who
went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed,  the one
whom we knew that God was with him, both in Judea, in the countryside
here in the city.   They hanged him on a tree, but God raised
him.  God
made him obvious to us all, made him manifest.  But not to
everybody, not
to all people, but to us here, who eat and drink with him again today, 
in his Resurrection.   It is to us he shows himself
alive.   He still
goes about doing good, healing, releasing, liberating.  In him we
God is with us--that's the One, the One who stands again amongst us.

Jesus is no longer captive to  the ones who can issue warrants for
arrest, he is no longer a prisoner, trapped in the system.  He is
beholden to our culture or our politics of death and dying.  
resurrection asserts new priorities for us for the age to come, and we
not need to live with the defeat of our hopes , for our future is not
final dissolving of our bodies, our falling apart in old age, hearts
collapsing and minds withering away.   What about the
resurrection of old
Bill's frail old self, what about Clara's amputated leg?  
Shall Bill
have back the vigor which he had always in his strong stride down the
aisle to the Communion rail, so that he could hasten back to the
seat at the harmonium to accompany the Communion Hymn?   
"Strengthen for
service, Lord, the hands that holy things have taken.   Let
ears that now
have heard your songs to clamor never waken."   Shall old
Clara have back
her foot, and her dancing shoes?   But she shall walk the
golden street. 
And all God's chillun got shoes.

Saint Augustine in the City of God expresses all our hopes that
"none of
those to whom it has been said, 'not a hair of your head shall perish'
shall in the Resurrection want such of their members as they have been
deprived of."  It was always because of such hopes that the
people of God
have looked for and believed in the rescue of the whole person, the
body/soul humanhood in the context of a community's life.  The
beyond the grave of an individual's disembodied spirit has never seemed
enough to any of us.  We want our beloved back among us, to join
with us
in a victory celebration, to play the harmonium again, to wear our best
lace cotta at the Easter eucharist, to stomp both our feet on the dance
floor and to walk all over God's heaven.  We want them back body and
and we want to be there too in our best shape, in health and strength
vigor.   thus the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is said to be a
fruits of our own liberation.  What about any of us is worth
saving?  We
know that it is our best selves that will be raised from the dead, our
creaturely selves, without the baggage of old age, or of this Age which
like us is passing away--our true selves embodied identifiable and
whole.  To many in the modern world and many in the ancient world,
Resurrection seems an inappropriate metaphor for vindication.  For
Asian religion, no truly righteous person need expect resurrection, for
the real goal of life is an end to physicality,  and the goal is
achievement of true spirituality, whether it is called immortality,
or nirvana.   Even Paul the Apostle, who never (we think) knew
Jesus in
the flesh, had an idea of the resurrection of the body which made it
acceptable to the Greek world to which he preached.  He talked about
spiritual body--never mentioned by fundamentalists--, and would not 
recognized the far more physical accounts of resurrection in the
gospels.  He never writes about the empty tomb, but only of his
with Jesus on the Damascus road, in a vision.   The Greeks at
Mars Hill in
Athens laughed out loud at Paul when he preached even his
body" resurrection.  The church over the centuries has modified
message until we finally found the Resurrection replaced with a cartoon
heaven of pearly gates and comfortable marshmallow clouds to sit on. 

In the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has given to us Christians an
affirmation of human life in community, for the Restoration of all we
know as good.  We need to remember however that every religion
intends to
affirm in metaphor and myth the best it can about the future life of
humankind:  their Scriptures, the Qurán, the Bahagavad Gita, the
Upanishads, all are earthen vessels full of human hopes.  In every
community, in every epic poem that calls itself a religion, we all look
for restoration for our fullest lives with all those we have ever 
in a festival of celebration of the fullest life of God in
all.    But we
Jesus believers also know that the Word has been made flesh, and not 
other way around.  This is the basis, the context, for our life as
people, as a community of Resurrection people.  It is by way of 
recognition of Jesus our Liberator, raised from the dead among us, as 
stand at our own grave sides, that we affirm:   We look for
Resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  
Christ is
Risen.   Alleluia!  Christ is risen,
Apartado RP-10, Managua, Nicaragua C.A.
Tel. 011-505-2662165
GRITS  now on-line:  

(1) "When the bird song dies away," chapter 12; 'Man's
suffering and death," pages 361 ff. from Henri Daniel-Rops Daily
Life in
the Time of Jesus,  translated by Patrick O'Brian, New York:
Books, 1962.