Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Just the Beginning


Mark 16
Easter Sunday
4-1-18

"The women went out from the tomb,
for terror and amazement had seized them;
they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."

What a terrible ending for this gospel.
It’s Easter, it’s supposed to be the happy ending to the story.
But the women are afraid and leave the tomb and that’s it.

You know I’m not the first one to think that this is a bad ending.
if you look in your bibles, a lot of people have tried to
add to the end of it, probably thinking that it was incomplete or
the end was torn out, or Mark didn’t really mean to end it there.
Redeemed Vicki Shuck 2016Prints of this are available contact
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Mark just has them leaving because they were afraid.

The women, the ones who actually could tell
everyone that Jesus wasn’t there, don’t have anything to say
We don’t hear about Peter or the rest of them.
We don’t even see Jesus again in this one.

We want to see Jesus, like in John’s gospel,
      we want to see and touch his wounds.
We want to see him eating with his disciples like in Luke.
We want to see him give a mandate to them, to go and baptize Like in Matthew.

Where is Jesus??
I guess that’s what the 
three women standing
at the open tomb were thinking that day too?
If he’s not here dead where we left him,
then where is Jesus?

Well, the young man in the white robe tells them.
He’s not here. “He’s not here, tell Peter and the rest of those disciples
that he’s gone ahead of them to Galilee.”

Back to Galilee, the home of
Peter and James and John and the rest of those 12
silly guys who gave up everything to follow Jesus
and then watched all their dreams die
right there on the cross with their best friend.
 Galilee, the home where Peter and the rest who are going to
in sadness and defeat and failure.

There is where Jesus will be before them.
To call them back into service,
 call them back to follow.
To renew their lives from this death.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is not hanging around
some tomb in Jerusalem waiting for people to find him.
 Jesus is alive! And he’s moving around leaving this church.
going ahead of us, back to where the whole story started.

Jesus has gone ahead of us
to meet us in our grief and sorrow.
To be there when we’ve felt lost and alone.

Jesus has gone ahead of us to places of
war and poverty giving people
strength and compassion.

Jesus has gone ahead of us
wherever there is injustice
giving people the courage to stand up to it.

Jesus has gone ahead of us in our
 pain, suffering, illness, addiction
when you receive that pink slip, or
when you receive that phone call that you never wanted to get
When that thing you worked for so long
 slips out of your hand.

Jesus has gone ahead of us
When things seem desperate and
we’ve seemed to run out of options.

And Jesus has gone ahead of us in death too,
ready to meet us there and welcome us.

Jesus is there, ahead of us
And not just to be with us and hold our hand,
but to do something amazing with us.

Jesus is there to call us to service,
to help us be who God created us to be
to bring us to new life with him.
And that is good news, right?

But who in the world will tell people about this good news?
Who is going to tell everyone
That Christ is alive and running around?
Who is going to tell their friends that there is hope
even in the face of death?

We can’t rely on those 12 disciples who spent the
whole of the life of Jesus getting everything else wrong.
We can’t rely on the women who just ran away in fear
This whole thing could end in failure.
  
But wait…there are some people who know
the stories of Jesus, who heard what that
man in white said at the tomb,
and who heard the order to go and tell.
You and me.
Maybe this story ends with you and me.

If we turn to the first page of Mark’s gospel,
it says, “The beginning of the good news
of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

This story has a bad ending because
this story is just the beginning.
The end of the story isn’t in some book,
in some words on a page.

The end of the story is out there, right here
out in our communities, out in the world.
The end of the story is today and the next day.
The story hasn’t ended yet.

Mark wants us to know that if we don’t tell the story
the story won’t get told.

Mark wants us to get away from the tomb
get out of our churches and leave here today and
tell this life-giving story to others.
  
Christ is doing amazing things in people’s lives every day.
holding hands with people when they need comfort.
Out in the street protesting, creating love,
understanding, peace, forgiveness
changing lives, making the impossible possible.
Pushing us to new possibilities and new realities.
But Jesus doesn’t want to do this alone,
Jesus wants to work with all of us.

Jesus is alive and with us today.
All we have to do is tell people
what God is already doing
And share the news that,
even though it looks dark, there is always hope.
All we have to do remind people of is
God’s promise that after death
there is always life again.

The good news is that
God has done all the work.
The good news is that in the midst
of all that is wrong with this world,
God written this beautiful Gospel,
this story of forgiveness and new life.
And the best news is that
we are characters in this great story.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!


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