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March 31, 2024

Resurrection of Our Lord

Acts 10:34-43

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia, Christ is risen

Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!


The women that first Easter morning

started with anything but alleluias,

rather they set out full of grief, purpose,

and anxiety over logistics.


They are grieving the death of Jesus,

 their teacher and friend,

who not only died

 but was killed in a brutally public way,

and then quickly put in a tomb

 before the sabbath prohibitions against work started.


Now, at the first opportunity,

as the sun rises and ends the sabbath

 they set out to properly take care of Jesus’ body,


the only thing is,

 they know that a large stone was placed in front of the tomb,

big enough that they know they will need help rolling it away,

 and they are wondering who they will get to help them

at this hour of the morning


but as they arrive and look up

 they see that the stone has already been rolled away.

 So they enter the tomb,

but instead of seeing Jesus as they expected

 they are confronted with a messenger dressed in white

who tells them the impossible news

that Jesus has been raised

and left a message for them

to go tell the disciples and Peter that he will meet them in Galilee

 where they will get to see him for themselves.


“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”


And there Mark’s version

of the story of the first Easter morning ends,

with terror and amazement and silence.


I love this ending

 because it seems so real to life,

this is the kind of encounter

 that has to sink in a bit

 before even shock sets in

so unexpected

 that leaving the place and keeping quiet

seems instinctual.

Let’s be honest,

 it’s probably how most of us would react.


Now obviously God found a way

 through their terror and amazement

because the news does get out

- we wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t-


 but I imagine that it started softly with a whisper,

 first among themselves,

confirming that they had all had the same experience

that no this wasn’t a figment of one person’s imagination.


And then the whispers move

 to a close confidant or two,

 trusted friends,

because who can keep something like this held inside?

this is something that must be shared,

 even as an uncertain whisper,


and then one confidant listens and ponders and affirms

‘I think you experienced God, I believe you’

 and with this affirmation

 the whispers became louder

as confidence in the message grows

 and what were once whispers

end up as full throated proclamation!

 Alleluia, Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed alleluia!


This makes sense to me

because isn’t this how God works in our lives?


We find ourselves in a situation

 where we are consumed by grief or pain

or confusion and anxiety over logistics,


we go along

 wondering who we will get to help us

 move this huge stone,


and then we look up

 and the stone is rolled away

 and we are struck silent for terror and amazement seize us

 and we question whether we are sane,


but soon we find a confidant

and in hushed and confused tones

we tell of our experience

 because this is something that can’t be held inside,


and we keep whispering

until someone says ‘I believe you, I think you experienced God’

and our voice becomes more confident

as we share what the risen Lord has done for us.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed alleluia!


God found a way through the women’s terror and amazement

 just as God found a way through

 the other disciples’ fear and hesitation and locked doors


 just as God found a way through

the struggles of Peter who denied Jesus,


  just as God found a way through Paul

 who persecuted the church.


This is the grace of God,

the grace that comes to its fullness on the cross

and at the empty tomb,

grace, as Paul says, is not in vain.


The Grace of God is never in vain.

It always finds a way through.


God’s grace toward us is never in vain,


even if we start out persecuting the church, 


Even if we start out strong, deny Jesus and then come back


Even if we are filled with terror and amazement

and say nothing when we have been commanded to speak.


The grace of God is not in vain for us, for you


Even if you are only here because Grandma made you come


Even if you don’t know why you’re here,

 or it feels like your faith has led you nowhere.


Even if you feel like God’s grace is for everyone except for you.


By the grace of God

we are what we are

 and God’s grace toward us is never in vain.


By the grace of God

we are Easter people,

easter people who proclaim

Alleluia, Christ is Risen,

Christ is Risen indeed alleluia!

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