And Yet

NL Year 2  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! One of many people’s favorite Disney films that came out during the pandemic, including our own family, was the movie Encanto. It has incredible music, has a good balance of humor set in a wonderful storyline, and all the characters are quite enjoyable, even Bruno.
Probably the most significant reason that everybody loves the Bruno character is becuase of the iconic song from the film, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”. I remember watching an interview with the composer, Lin Manuel Miranda, who said that his kids heard him playing the song, before he sent it to Disney, and his kids immediately told him that was going to be a hit. The irony of the song, whether you have seen the movie or not, as you can imagine is that despite the fact that no one is supposed to talk about Bruno…everyone talks about Bruno. It all boils down to the fact that he mysteriously disappeared years ago and no one is quite sure why. It’s kind of a weird juxtaposition that no one is supposed to talk about him because of what happened, and yet throughout this entire song the main character Mirabel is learning all about Bruno from her family…who aren’t supposed to talk about Bruno. I think you get my point.
I’m sure that you have encountered similar situations. Or perhaps situations where you really just don’t speak about whatever or whoever you aren’t supposed to speak about. Or maybe we just don’t talk about, not because there was some agreement or anything, but simply because we don’t feel the need or see the need to share about that person or situation. I’m sure that kind of thing happens all the time.
What I don’t understand though is here we are on Easter morning, where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus; his victory over sin and death and this is the story we get from Mark. The women go to the tomb expecting to anoint Jesus’ body for burial; they’re hoping that they can figure out a way to roll the stone away from the tomb and they don’t find Jesus there. They find the stone already rolled away, the body gone, and a young man in white robes sitting inside, obviously not Jesus. This young man, who we all interpret to be an angel, telling them that Jesus has been raised even though he was crucified.
Now we don’t know if the women knew about Jesus passion predictions or not, so the news that he has been raised from the dead may have genuinely been new to them. So I completely understand the shock and the fear that were associated with both the appearance of the angel as well as the news he was sharing, but with everything that they had experienced with Jesus was this too difficult to believe? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. There are some things in this life that I know about and have a hard time understanding so to have something like this happen without knowing everything I know, it’s hard to really judge the reaction of the women.
Even when our Easter story this morning ends with they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. Which leads me back to my initial statement…this is the Easter story we get from Mark. This isn’t quite the fanfare and celebration we expect on this holiest of days. I still can’t fully blame them women for what they were feeling and experiencing but it’s not what we’ve come to know and think about when we hear the word Easter morning or resurrection story. Where’s the women running and telling the disciples, or Mary meeting Jesus the ‘gardener’, or the disciples coming to the tomb themselves and seeing and believing. Or the several times that Jesus appears to them in bodily form to send them out into the world? Those are fanfare Easter stories. That is what we expect from this joyous Easter morning. And yet…
If we take a moment and we sit with those bizarre words of Mark…that they said nothing to no one despite being told by the angel to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee, something small but incredible happens. For if you imagine with me reading this passage for the first time not knowing much of anything else other than what Mark has written, you then you can feel the anticipation and the excitement of verses 1-7. How the day goes from sadness to the surprising but joyous news that Jesus has been raised and is headed to Galilee to meet the disciples. Again you can feel that rush of jubilee as you read or someone is reading this aloud to a group of people. The angel has given them a task to share the good news of Easter…Jesus is risen just as he said he would. What’s next?
Nothing to no one. Wait what? Really that’s what’s next they and we all think? But then comes this thought. A lightbulb that starts dim and grows brighter at the realization of something incredible. If that is the end of Mark and the women told no one…then how am I listening to Mark tell that story? If the women told no one who told Mark? Someone must have told the person reading Mark to me which means someone told Mark. And if someone told Mark then that means that the disciples did go to Galilee and meet Jesus. And if the disciples met the risen Jesus in Galilee then the women did say something to the disciples. If they said something to the disciples that means that they believed and so did the disciples and so did Mark and so does the person reading Mark’s gospel to me. And so the story has gone for generations.
Mark may not have laid out all the fanfare that we maybe expect or hope for on Easter, but it’s almost a better Easter. It is an Easter that helps us to see how the message of Jesus the Messiah cannot stay silent. It is an Easter story that bursts out from fear and sadness and creates joy and is proclaimed even from the most overwhelmed person. Easter cannot be contained no matter how difficult is must have been to get to that tomb that morning…no matter what kind of wilderness we all had to go through to be here this Easter morning.
The love of God as found in Christ Jesus is not something that can be kept quiet. It is something that is shared with one another. It is something that transforms lives and gives hope to the world. It is a declaration that sin, sadness, death, terror, dread and everything else that brings us down in this world is nothing compared to the life-transforming power of the gospel which is fully realized in the Easter story. He isn’t here. He is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen.
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