Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Christ is Risen             The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia Grace and peace are yours in the name of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ It is a beautiful Easter morning - welcome We have been enjoying beautiful spring weather            We have put on our fancy Easter clothes –             some of us have hunted for eggs or will hunt for eggs –             some of us will go on to fancy Easter brunch or dinner later today. We gather here to enjoy a celebration,             with exquisite music and beautiful visual arts. But Easter is more than a beautiful celebration and family holiday. Some of us are hear today because we need this Easter. We need Easter because we, like Mary, have been waiting in darkness and grief. We need Easter because we, like Mary,              have lost the one we love; lost our hopes and dreams. We need Easter because we have been lost in the darkness of addition or mental illness. We have crept, with Mary, to the tomb, carrying our grief and fear. We need to hear again the story of that first Easter morning. Mary and Mary Magdalene and Salome, women who had followed Jesus,             cared for him and his followers in their ministry, came early to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They came to prepare his body,             which they had not been able to do when he died just as Sabbath was beginning. They expect a sad and difficult task,             but caring for the dead body of a loved one who has died is something they have     probably done before. What they find is not what they expected. The stone at the entrance of the tomb is gone; the body of Jesus is gone. A young man dressed in white tells them that he has been raised. He tells them to go and the tell the other disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee. The women see an angel, hear the most amazing news –             and then they run away. They are afraid, and Mark says “they said nothing to anyone.” This seems like a strange place to end the story. What happened next? They must have be more to it,             or we wouldn’t still be telling the story centuries later. Yet scholars believe that this is actually where Mark ended his story. They believe that someone later on – decades or centuries later –             just couldn’t stand this abrupt non-ending,             and added more to the story to make it more like the other gospels. But I love Mark’s original ending. Many of you have heard me preach about Mark throughout this year,             and you know I love Mark’s unique take on things,             the urgency and passion of his story. So I want to share with you today why I think the abrupt, awkward ending of Mark’s gospel is so wonderful. The women are afraid to receive the good news that Christ has risen. After all their hopes have been dashed,             it seems too good to be true. It is easier to believe that someone has taken the body, has played a cruel trick on them,             than to believe that their most secret hope has come true:             Jesus is alive again! It is not news that sinks in all at once. In fact, this may be news that takes a lifetime to comprehend. Jesus Christ – the light of the world – God with us – was killed. But death could not hold him. The fear and hatred of humankind,             violence and greed and death itself,             took his life. But he was not defeated. He rose from the dead –             he physically stood up and walked out of his tomb. Is it any wonder the women have a hard time believing? Mark’s gospel ending says – The women must move slowly from darkness into light. Life and hope and joy return slowly, as they see new life opening before them. It will not be the life they had. That time is over, and they cannot go back. And it takes time to see what life in this new world –             this world in which death could not hold Jesus in the grave –             might be like. The first words of the gospel of Mark are,             “the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ” That is all the introduction we get to Mark’s story of Jesus,             before he jumps in with John the Baptist. But what if, instead, those words are a title –             a description of the whole gospel of Mark? What if Mark knows that his story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus              is only the beginning? A story that began 2000 years ago and continues today. David Lose, President Gettysburg Lutheran seminary, writes in his blog:             The story of what God is doing in and through Jesus isn’t over at the empty tomb,           you see. It’s only just getting started. Resurrection isn’t a conclusion, it’s an       invitation. And Jesus’ triumph over death, sie and hate isn’t what Mark’s gospel is           all about. Rather, Mark’s gospel is all about setting us up to live resurrection lives             and continue the story of God’s redemption of the world. And so Mark ends here, in confusion and fear,             inviting us, the readers, to pick up where he left off and share the good news: Christ is Risen!             The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia It’s only the beginning, and we have a part to play. That is why we need Easter. To remind us that the story is still unfolding before our eyes             and, indeed, through our very lives. And for those of us who struggle with darkness,             this day is a promise and the fulfillment of all promise. This is the day which says, once and for all, that the light of Christ shines in the darkness,             and the darkness has not – will not ever – overcome it. This is the day which says             Behold – God is still making all things new! and we are a part of it. Alleluia! Christ is Risen!             The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia Thanks be to God. Amen. St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Albuquerque, NM

About this blog