April 26, 2020
Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ
Yes, I know…you heard most of that scripture on Easter morning when I invited all of you to join me in a walk into the empty tomb of our empty sanctuary.
But what I didn’t get to was the response of those women who found it empty and were visited by a young man who told them not to be alarmed: Look, he’s not here He has been raised from the dead. Now go. Tell the disciples. GO.
And then Mark’s gospel ends with the startling conclusion. It says, “They fled from the tomb for fear an amazement had seized them and they said nothing to anyone.” That is how Mark’s gospel originally ended….with just three terrified women.
Of course the early church couldn’t have that so somebody later added on a different ending to Mark’s gospel…one where Jesus appears to a bunch of other people who then go on to tell a whole lot of others and everyone lives happily ever after. There. That’s better. That’ll sell. (The early church must have had a good Marketing Department.)
And yet again and again, in so many of the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection people do not respond with great joy and shouts of hallelujahs when they see him. Face to face with the risen Christ people are repeatedly confused, disbelieving, thrown off-balance and yes, even afraid.
This morning let me suggest to you that Resurrection is not a warm and fuzzy experience. It is disorienting. It knocks people off of their pedestals of reason and logic. It catches us off-guard. Life from death is startling.
Resurrection throws everything off kilter. Easter is an experience that shakes us up….shakes us up to the core…shakes us up from death to life.