Sermon Easter 2016: “The gospel of Mark, silent women, & Christ among us today.”

Text: Mark 16:1-8

The first race Kelly and I ran together was Thanksgiving Day, 2011. I run a bit faster and so I decided that I was going to run with Kelly instead of speeding off like I usually do.  This was before we got married, so I thought this would be a great way to impress Kelly and do something together.  So the race started, and we talked to start….I kept talking….and Kelly got a word or two out….and I kept talking….and then Kelly said nothing….and I kept talking.  It was pretty enjoyable, and I was so proud of myself for being such a good boyfriend, encouraging her along.

There was a pretty strong headwind at the finish of the race and so as we went around the final corner towards the finishline, I decided to be even nicer and run in front of Kelly and let her draft off me to the finish.  So I gently accelerated ahead and moved in front of her.  And then Kelly did say something: “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME.”  Kelly was running at her max pace, not feeling so great, and apparently she thought I was trying to push the pace even harder at the finish. I mean, I had no idea….Kelly said nothing……right? 

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

This is how the gospel of Mark ends.  There’s no stories of what happens after that first Easter morning, no stories of Jesus’ appearance or his last words to the disciples, proving that Jesus was indeed alive and risen.  This is all we get: women saying nothing.  It’s sort of unsettling I suppose, because then how did the news of Jesus’ resurrection get out?

No one had any idea…….the women said nothing….right?

I find it hard to believe that in their terror and amazement that no one noticed something was different with the women. I find it hard to believe no one noticed their terror, amazement, and fear. I mean, considering what they just witnessed, it would’ve been more than a little hard to hide. Something was different. 

They didn’t say a word….but their terror, amazement, and fear perhaps said everything that needed to be said. 

A very close friend of mine had taken her grandchild to her martial arts class.  As she sat there watching the class, she noticed a woman about the same age sitting next to her.  One, it was a odd because most of the adults waiting there were parents and a quite a bit younger, and two she noticed the women just didn’t seem right.  So she asked the other women, “I guess we’re the two odd ones here being older, right?”  The women, weary looking, began to share that she had brought her grandson to the class as well, but it was because a few days earlier, her grandson’s mother had passed away tragically and that primary guardianship was likely to pass on to her.  At the end of their conversation, the women remarked, “It’s just nice not feeling so alone right now….if only for a moment.”

The good news on this Easter morning is that Christ has indeed risen. And Jesus is out there among us each and every day, just like he was waiting for his followers in Galilee.  Yet it is this Christ – not some perfect, sanitized form – that appears to us as the risen Christ, the Christ who brings hope and new life and healing into our world.  The Christ who waits for us in the world is the crucified Christ – bearing the scars and marks of suffering, tragedy, and loneliness. To seek after the risen Christ is to notice the wounds and scars of Jesus’ humanity.  It is to notice that in those places of terror, amazement, and fear that silences us and others that when they draw near to us, unspoken, they are the places where Jesus raises up resurrection hope in our lives….and in others.

In that way, perhaps, the change isn’t superficial, leading to a lot of empty words of praise – but one that changes our hearts so that we experience resurrection in the best way possible. 

It is the mystery of faith of the ages: Christ has died.  Christ has risen.  Christ will come again.   To experience that, no words are required. All we have to do is pay attention. Amen.

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