Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Easter Day has dawned clear and crisp. The sun is rising. I'm second-guessing my sermon. Nothing new there.
It is my custom to follow that of many eastern Orthodox churches and read out St. John Chrysostom's Easter homily, with brief commentary afterward.
It has nothing to do with the world in which we live. It has nothing to do with the everday lives of the people. It is, for most of those who attend this morning, the only time I have with them all year to tell them that Jesus' resurrection is for them.
What I won't tell them is this, which came to me yesterday morning:
The eastern tradition is that in death Christ harrowed hell - that is, Christ descended to hell, broke down its gates, smashed all the chains and released all hell's captives, beginning with Adam and Eve, the two who brought sin into the world in the first place.
Yesterday, I thought to write only this: After Adam and Eve, the next soul lifted out of hell was hell's newest prize - Judas, who had only just committed suicide after his betrayal of Jesus.
Christ is risen, everyone. He is risen and he has raised you with him. Christ is risen. Alleluia!