May 1, 2022 – The Rev. Ivar Hillesland

posted in: Sermons 0

In the beginning, God danced 

Big bang, galaxies spun spinning expanding expanse.     

The space spanning three in one free holy singularity,  

A seed of light. 

Dead first. <Crack> Then life.  

An empty-tombed big boom, womb-bloomed blossoming plume 

Star arks, sparked to life, traversing the sparse dark. 

God filed her subatomic particles of incorporation. 

And in time, protons, neutrons, electrons spawned atomic bonds. 

Primordial elements were drawn together like gathered treasures; gravity tethered. 

Stardust into earth crust. 

God’s Spirit rushed over the face with a hushed gust, brushed the surface 

above, below, 

H2O, where single-celled life would grow  

Crawl slow onto land, evolve up human and stand. 

Out of the brown ground dirt-crowned birth,

our profoundly earth-bound life is found. 

God labored, loved, created, delivered. 

Then this, a spirited kiss – bliss – we’re born breath blessed, beloved lovers, 

Starry eyes opened up baptized in the skies. 

All this creation to us is given,  

God gives the unequaled gift of earth and of heaven,  

She says, please care for the earth and love your neighbor, 

Forgive for God, give thanks in your labor. 

And for the sake of this world and your beloved creator: 

Feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, care for the sick, and set prisoners free 

Give all of yourself…but please don’t eat from this good and evil tree, 

Don’t try to own the knowledge of God 

You’ll begin to see your gifts as irrevocably flawed 

Begin judging for yourself the worth of all things 

Raising yourself up, establishing kings, 

Building towers, claiming power, 

Finding more and more to consume and devour 

Forgetting the weak, the poor and the lonely 

You’ll say, “all of this is mine and it’s mine only 

I want it all, all for me 

All this world on a bended knee.” 

Dominate, control, sell souls, sheol goals, dirty coal burned scripture scrolls 

Unnaturally natural gas fracked, smoke-stacked selfish acts, Eucharistic snack packs, military contracts, maxed out church tax, and 4 easy payments of $39.99 for holy artifacts. 

Let the candle wax, drip drop down to the ground. 

Darkness, all around. 

In so many ways, our lives are a fraud 

because God gets in our way of becoming god. 

With selfish heart’s content, we rarely repent,  

But God does not relent.  

God just keeps giving the same gift she meant. 

Heaven is ripped, rent – and God in Christ is sent  

To show the world the world God dreamt. 

Giving self, serving fully, showing us how ordinary things, people, are holy. 

But even amidst our tentative disciple whims and our Palm Sunday Hosanna Hymns, 

We betrayed him, we tried him, we doubted him, killed him and we denied him. 

Entombed in the earth, Christ dead 

Wrapped up linen mummy clothed, casketed, encased,

broken body like buckwheat bread.  

And we’ve become victims of our own devices 

Turning on each other and covering the stench of death with all our own sweet spices. 

And just as I have done unto others, others have done unto me, 

Nailed by the same nails I used to nail Jesus to the tree. 

Kicked down 6 deep in the dug-up dirt,

dropped off, doomed, pain dulled, left for dead in the grave,  

I’m drying the dying cries in my eyes, the lies and failed tries,

the driven drive to colonize and demonize,  

Dirt just rains down on my back, death itself trying to bury me,  

it says I am nothing, no one to love me, no one to carry me 

Intensely I’m tempted, enraptured attention, to test my intention  

to just sleep there stiff, stagnant, and still,  

let the dirt of death fall down in the hole, fill it all up full to filled,  

I’m so tired.  

What if I just close my eyes, accept death’s sweet, sorrowed story 

Let it write me forever as worthless, let it burn me in purgatory? 

But then, my sleepy eyes narrowed closed close to shut,

stone tomb doors rolled almost tight, 

At the edge of my vision, there in the ground, that very first seed of light – Christ. 

Just lying there with me, earthward in its own little tomb 

And then I recall these words from our scriptural womb 

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,  

it remains just a single grain; but if it dies – it flies” 

and with a crack, death then life, it flew,  

fear freed, faith formed, earth birthed, bursting forth, 

Big bang, expanding expanse, galaxies sent spinning,  

light pouring forth, like in the beginning. 

So, crawling to my knees, I scoop hands down to the earth  

So that I might remember and love the dirt of my birth, 

With a handful of dust falling through my frail fingers 

That feeling of loss, of longed for belonging, it still lingers 

This, this is the same dirt that came from the stars 

The same storied star-dusted source that was ours. 

But I’m still down in the grave and dirt keeps on coming  

Each shovelful rains down like broken bread crumbing. 

So, like the strong-willed woman under Christ’s ancient table 

I grab hold of life’s crumbs I rewrite death’s fable. 

You are not enough it says, graveyard dirt rains on down 

But I just shake it off my back and trample it down into the ground. 

Little by little, that stamped down dirt, the same holy earth of my beloved birth, 

Fills in my tomb, raises the grave, If I don’t let it cover me, I know I’ll be saved. 

You are not beautiful enough, dirt rains on down. 

I Shake it off, stomp it down and Rise Up from the ground. 

You aren’t successful enough, death’s dirt rains down 

Shake it off, stomp it down and Rise Up from the ground 

You aren’t likeable enough, dirt rains down. 

Shake it off, stomp it down and Rise Up from the ground 

Buy more, be more, work more, earn more. 

Dirt just keeps coming and coming, pouring forth, 

But praise God, in the waters of baptism I already died,

so with Christ, that seed of light sprouted, I rise. 

Oh, my stars! This resurrected, life-giving joy- it is ours! 

Past all our scars like broken prison bars,  

We are freed to love and fly, one with earth and one with sky 

One with water, one with dirt, one holy people to love this beautiful earth. 

One in Christ, raised up from dead, one at our table of wine and bread. 

We come beloved from the dust of the stars,  

We are God’s and God is ours. 


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