Friday, April 6, 2018

Now What?

Last Sunday, we celebrated the great festival of Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. On Easter, we remember Christ’s rising from the dead and the surprise of the women who came to the tomb and found it empty. 

But as I talked about in my Easter Day sermon, this celebration is not the climactic end of the church year. In fact, it comes shy of midway through the year that began with our preparations for Christmas, and will not end until just after Thanksgiving. It turns out that this great celebration is just the beginning. 

The Gospel according to Mark, which we read on Easter Sunday, ends right there, with the women fleeing from the empty tomb and, amazed and terrified by the startling news the Jesus had been raised from the dead. According to the last words of the Gospel, they fled and told no one.

Well, clearly they told someone, eventually, or we wouldn’t have this account to read on Easter morning. But the original ending of Mark’s gospel just stops there, unresolved, like a piece of music where the musicians put down their instruments before the final measure. We lean forward, knowing there MUST be more to come, there must be more to the story than this. 

And there is. The other three gospels — Matthew, Luke, and John — all relate encounters with Jesus after the Resurrection. We get a glimpse of the disciples’ confusion and fear, their uncertainty about what to do next.  We discover a Jesus who is both undeniably the man who died on the cross, and also unrecognizable to his closest friends.  If we listen carefully, we will hear ourselves invited to become part of the story of salvation, a story that finds a new and improbable beginning with the empty tomb. 

You are invited to join us for the next four weeks in reflecting on these stories of the post-Resurrection Jesus. Each Friday,  I will post the week’s reading and a brief reflection on how we might approach this story. On Sundays, there will be a table at coffee hour after worship for those who would like to talk about the story and share their own thoughts about what it has to say to us here and now.

I look forward to walking with you on this Easter journey. 

Rev. Suzanne

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