One of the consistent messages of the Book of Revelation is that God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. To borrow from Aristotle, God is the first cause. Or, as the Prologue to the Gospel of John puts it: “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And, everything that exists was created through and by this Word. Finally, a few verses later we learn that this “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:1-18). Not only is God the beginning of all things, but according to the Book of Revelation God is also the completion of all things.
Before we get back to Edmund, we need to hear the word from the Book of Revelation. In this reading from the fifth chapter, we find ourselves standing in the heavenly realm before the throne of God. We stand in the company of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, along with the myriad of angels who sing: Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!
“I know that my Redeemer liveth.” These words from an old Gospel song define the meaning of Easter. They serve to remind us why we gather here this morning. In fact, this is why we gather every Sunday morning. We come to celebrate the Good News that Christ our Lord is risen from the Dead. So, with joyful hearts we can sing our alleluias!
Palm Sunday is a day of celebration, even if this triumphant entry leads to tragedy before triumph returns. Good Friday will come soon enough, but in the meantime, let us celebrate the presence of God in our midst. During this Lenten season we have been attending to words from the Old Testament. We began with a reminder that our spiritual ancestor is a wandering Aramean. This image of the wanderer has been with us ever since, even when we entered the Land of Promise with Joshua. We heard how God made a covenant with Abraham and Sarah. We heard how God called Moses from the desert to go and deliver Israel out of the hands of Pharaoh. We made our way to the Land of Promise, crossing the river, but then we discovered that this time of settling in the land gave way to exile in Babylon. No matter where our spiritual ancestors wandered, God was with them. Yes, God is always at work laying down new pathways so that we might make our way forward.
Our Lenten journey began in Deuteronomy 26 where Moses declares that the ancestor of the people was a “wandering Aramean” (Deut. 26:1-11). Last week we heard a word from Exodus 3, and Rick shared with us how God called Moses out of the land of Midian, where he was tending sheep, to lead the people of Israel out of slavery into a Promised Land. This morning we find ourselves at the end of that journey. Israel has set up camp at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho. They have crossed the river Jordan into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. The long years of wandering in the wilderness have finally come to an end, and so it’s time to celebrate.