I began preparation of this homily with some trepidation for this is the Feast of the Resurrection – the central miracle of our faith. For centuries the resurrection has been celebrated and proclaimed. Preachers have given thousands of sermons and scholars written millions of words expounding the details and impact of this great event. What can I add to what has been preached? What can we add to the proclamations of these centuries? I thought perhaps if I had been born a millennium ago, I could add to the exposition, but now, in the 21st century, what new thing can I say?

In this state of mind, I read the epistle, and I was consoled a bit by Paul’s words to the Corinthians. Paul also expresses a feeling of coming to the scene a bit late. Paul finds himself an apostle, but he was not a witness to the crucifixion. He was not in the garden on the first Easter; he didn’t see the empty tomb. He wasn’t among the five hundred to whom Jesus appeared nor was he with James or all the apostles when they viewed the risen Christ.

Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, some time after the Ascension – an appearance not like the ones shared by the other apostles. By the grace of God, Paul was what he was, and by the grace of God, Jesus appeared to him. And by the grace of God, Jesus’ appearance to Paul was not an afterthought, not an appearance out of season.

It was a different appearance but it was the same Lord: Jesus in the garden was Jesus on the road to Damascus. In the garden, Jesus spoke Mary’s name; on the road to Damascus, he spoke Paul’s. Jesus still speaks – He calls us by name. This risen Christ beckons us to acknowledge and follow him.

In the past year, I have been blessed to witness faithful responses to the call of Christ. Outwardly the calls are not dramatic as Paul’s experience but inwardly ever bit as lively.

I head a woman offering a prayer of thanksgiving for being healed literally at the point of death. I saw a small boy excited at learning the story of Elijah in Children’s Chapel. I felt the hand of a friend holding mine and praying with me in my hour of need. I watched a woman with joy in her eyes eagerly accept the bread at Eucharist. I heard a man tearfully pray for his father-in-law who is dying. I joined with Christians of several denominations to share food with the poor.

These are people in worship and prayer, and people at work and play. Watch them, watch carefully, and look closely: you will see not only humans in need or people offering support, but also glimpses of the risen Christ. These are acts of love; they may be small but they are moments of grace, and they are appearances of Jesus, extending the resurrection story. They show Christ within us, Christ – the risen Christ – among us, continuing to appear.

These are the new things we add to the Easter story. As long as there are Christians, there are additions to the Easter story – more worship, more prayer, more service, more support, more caring and sharing.

In the Eucharist we announce: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” We live in the time between the death and second coming; we live in the time of the risen Christ. This is the living, risen Christ who calls us, each of us, by name, and asks us to recognize him and follow him. As we respond, we proclaim the resurrection, and we extend the Easter story. We respond in love, and we obey the commandment to love one another as Christ loved us.

This is how we proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen.