A Sermon preached by The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch
Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, PA
April 18, 2014
It is finished.
Regardless of where you have been on your Lenten journey. Regardless of whether you are still adrift in the wilderness, or have shaken the desert dust off your feet and moved on. Regardless of what repentance, fasting, amendment of life you have left undone…it is finished.
We have come to the end. End of the road. End of the line. End of the story. Wherever you have been for the past forty days, or forty weeks, or forty years. Wherever you have been faithful and faithless. Wherever you have been prideful, deceitful, arrogant. Grateful, hopeful, compassionate…it is finished.
Whatever has been done is done. Whatever has been left undone is left undone.
This is the time, and this is the place, to gather up all the messy pieces of your life, your self, your soul. To collect all the stones and insults and desperation, all the insights and dreams and accomplishments you have picked up along the way. To assemble all the hurts, the slights, the disappointments, the balms, kindnesses, and encouragements you have given or received and then let it all slip through your fingers and fall away like grains of sand into the emptiness.
Let everything escape your grasp. Empty your arms and hands and heart. Pour it all out at the foot of the cross. All of who you are, or were, or were meant to be. Let this be your final offering and concluding act.
Because when all is said and done, there is nothing left but to lay ourselves at the foot of the cross. There is no place left to go, nothing left to do.
Even for Jesus.
Even for the one who loved well, fed the five thousand, gave sight to the blind, and brought Lazarus back to life…it is finished.
The stress, the jeering, the pain. The public ministry and private conversation. The teaching of crowds, the finding of the lost, the healing of the hurt. The betrayal by Judas. The denial of Peter. The shattered hope of Mary. It is finished.
Undone. Unraveled. Unmade. Beyond anxiety. Beyond consequence. Beyond resignation. Nothing left to grasp. Nothing to be done. All slips through unstrung fingers.
Fall at the foot of the cross with empty hands. Empty heart. An empty husk. Then follow the sweet release of letting it all escape your grasp. When we are completely spent, God can begin.