by Sharon Marr
(Based on Mark 16:1-8)
With grateful thanks for excerpts from Debie Thomas – Journey with Jesus: Slow Easter. I strongly recommend her wonderful sermon is read in its entirety.
Friday’s gone and Sunday’s a-come! There is no greater story of God’s power and love than the story of Easter. In this morning’s very exciting gospel reading, we find the three women disciples fleeing from the tomb in terror and amazement … The tomb was empty.
Sometime in the predawn hours of a Sunday morning, two thousand years ago, a great mystery transpired in secret. No sunlight illuminated the event. No human being witnessed it. And even now, centuries later, no human narrative can contain it. The resurrection exceeds all of our attempts to pin it down, because it’s a mystery known only to God.
Whatever the raising was and is, its fullness lies in holy darkness, shielded from our eyes. All we can know is that somehow, in an ancient tomb on a starry night, God worked in secret to bring life out of death. Somehow, from the heart of loss and misery, God enacted salvation …. and thank goodness the truth of the resurrection doesn’t depend on us flailing human beings. It doesn’t matter one bit if we believe on the spot or not. The tomb is empty! Death is vanquished. Jesus lives. We are not in charge of Easter: God is. Sunday’s a-come!
We know from the four Gospels that the frightened silence of the women on Easter morning eventually gave way to proclamation. Their alarm subsided, their courage deepened, their trauma healed, and their amazement grew. They learned how to choose hope. They learned how to make the story their own, and as they did, the story blossomed and grew. Joy came. Faith came. Peace came. Love came. And slowly, the glorious truth of a conquered grave and a risen Messiah made its way from their emboldened lips to every corner of the world. The story didn’t depend on them. But it changed them, and as they changed, the world around them changed, too.
God has, from all eternity, loved us so much he sent his son Jesus the Christ that we might have life. We are anchored in that love; changed by that love. It does not protect us from harm, or from hard decisions, or from emotional ups and downs and profound grief, or anger at the pain of the world, or the frightening presence of Covid 19 . It simply assures us that there is … finally … no contest between God’s love, and the forces that bring loss of unity and turmoil, in the world and in the human spirit.
And that is the Good News for today: God’s great story. Easter love doesn’t end in defeat, sorrow or loss … or an empty tomb. It is full of hope, love and joy! Christ is risen, the grave is empty, love is eternal, and death’s defeat is sure. Alleluia! Christ is risen. Amen.