More about rolling away stones …

8 04 2007

The below is part of something I wrote last year as an Easter reflection, but I think it goes along with what I was saying in my previous posting….the text is from the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark.

Mark’s Gospel ends at a climax of sorts because this is the climax of God’s in-breaking into the world. This is the climax of Creation, when Jesus, the Son of God, enters the realm of death and death is conquered.There are quite a few biblical scholars who will try and discount the resurrection appearances of Jesus, and one of the things some might point to is the fact that the Gospel of Mark in its earliest forms ends where it does here [at verse 8]. Well, I say, the text might be finished, but the story is far from over. As NT Wright, one of the most prominent New Testament scholars, is fond of saying, “Christianity is about something that happened,” and it happened in a manner consistent of the way God has been working and dealing with humanity since the Fall. God takes everyone by surprise. The women at the tomb were not expecting to find the stone rolled away and a young man sitting off to the side saying “Jesus of Nazareth is not here. He has been raised.” The Resurrection accounts in the Gospels are different recollections of what happened after the tomb was found empty, but one thing is consistent: everyone is completely shocked that Jesus is alive. Even though Jesus predicted it himself, no one understood what he was talking about, and I dare say no one really believed it was actually going to happen until it did.“Christianity is about something that happened.” The witness of the Gospels, and all the New Testament, points to the idea that the Resurrection was an actual event. And it’s still happening. It’s finished, but it isn’t over. God is still moving stones from people’s lives and people’s hearts. The fact that we have a community of people like ourselves, the fact that this message board exists [note:  I am referring to], is a witness to Easter and the power of Resurrection. The power of Easter is so great that no matter what the “powers-that-be” might say, Jesus’ way is something we can count on, something we can take with us. We can know courage when there is reason to fear, hope when there is reason to despair, and life when there is death all around. We become Easter People, living our lives in the knowledge that death has no sting and the grave has no victory.+Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire (and who also happens to be openly gay), gives a great description of what Easter is all about: Surrendering to the truth and power of the resurrection means embracing the knowledge that there is no good excuse any more for letting those stones get in the way. The stone has been rolled back, and now the hard work of living a resurrected life begins for each of us. Living our lives in that truth means doing courageous and mighty things in Jesus’ name. Surrendering to the resurrection means letting go of all the anxiety and fear that can so easily grip and disempower us and experiencing the joy of the resurrected life. It means living our lives with “the peace that passes all understanding” in our hearts. And it means stopping each and every day, one day at a time, to look up and be reminded that the stone has ALREADY been rolled away.  Thanks be to our great God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

May we all be Easter people and may Hallelujah be our song.

Christ is risen, the Lord is risen indeed!





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