Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!


That’s why we’ve gathered here today:

  • To proclaim anew that love has conquered betrayal
  • That light has conquered darkness
  • That joy has conquered despair
  • That faith has conquered fear
  • That life has conquered death!


And so we rejoice, as the prophet Isaiah says: This is the Lord for whom we have waited, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation! And our shouts of joy echo in this place of the righteous as the Psalmist says. And in the rejoicing, we can’t help but spread the news! We can’t help but to tell the world that Jesus, the one who was crucified, is risen from the dead!


Only, this wasn’t the response of the first to receive the Easter proclamation, at least not according to Mark’s Gospel…


Mark’s Gospel ends with the women leaving the tomb and telling no one because they were so afraid. They remained, in the words of the old simile, as silent as the grave.


Only, this grave wasn’t silent!


The women, of course, are convinced that Jesus is dead. They’re certain of it. They watched him die. They watched as his body was taken down off of the cross, and hurriedly buried. They knew a heavy stone had been rolled across the opening of the tomb, so that they were wondering, as they were going to the tomb on the first day of the week to anoint his body, who they might get to roll the stone away for them. They’re sure of one thing, more than anything else in all the whole world – They’re sure that their beloved Jesus is dead.


But as they approach the tomb, the stone isn’t where it’s supposed to be, and the grave isn’t silent. There’s a young man dressed in white saying crazy things!


Jesus isn’t here? Oh really? Then where is he?


Jesus isn’t dead? What are you talking about? We saw him die!


Go and tell the others? Yeah right! They’ll lock us away! They’ll think we’re crazy! They won’t listen to us.

They’ll think we’re just hysterical women! They’ll never believe us or take us seriously!


So they turn tail and run from the tomb. They’re so terrified and amazed that they don’t know what to do or say. So they tell no one. And that’s where Mark leaves it. End of the Gospel…


It’s a strange and unsatisfying ending, isn’t it?


I mean, where are the post-resurrection appearances, the walking through walls and appearing behind closed and locked doors, the meeting Mary Magdalene in the garden, the restoring of Peter after his three-fold denial? Mark gives us none of it! But I think there’s a reason Mark chooses to end the story this way. In fact, it’s kind of funny, when you think about it. Throughout Mark’s Gospel, whenever Jesus does something miraculous, he always tells those involved not to tell anyone. And without fail, they do so anyway. Though they’ve been told not to say anything, they go out and tell everyone they see whatever wondrous thing Jesus has done for them. But here, On Easter morning, when Jesus does the most wondrous thing of all, the young man dressed in white at the tomb tells the women to go and tell the disciples, and Peter, that Jesus is raised, and is going ahead of them to Galilee, and they tell no one!


It’s ironic, isn’t it? But it’s meant to get those who hear the story to do what the women don’t do –

To go out and spread the good news of what we’ve seen and heard…


The resurrection is not the end of the story! The resurrection continually calls us into the future that God unfolds before us. The resurrection compels us to go and tell, to be witnesses to God’s great love for all the world in Christ Jesus.


The great good news of the resurrection rings out loud and clear, speaking the promise of life where there has been only death!


The great good news of the resurrection shines brightly in the midst of our darkness, and enlightens the hearts of those who dwell in the dark shadows of death!


The great good news of the resurrection empowers us to stand firm in the truth, and to speak out boldly for those whose voices are ignored in our society!


The great good news of the resurrection speaks hope to those who know only despair, calling them into an unknown future without fear!


But the great good news of the resurrection can do none of this unless we hear it, and receive it, and carry it out into the world in our own hearts, on our lips, and through our living lives of love and service in the name of Jesus as the way of continuing to tell the story and spread the word ourselves…


The Gospel of Mark seems incomplete, but it’s not. It ends this way so that we’ll understand that God invites us to continue the story, as we share the great good news of the resurrection.


Christ, our light and our life, is not dead, but lives forever, and is making of us

  • a community of faith that reaches out with the Gospel without fear of those who are different
  •  a community of welcome that rejoices in finding unity in Christ within a vast diversity of experience
  •  a community of those who know and willingly and openly admit their imperfections, trusting in God’s power of forgiveness, and then share that forgiveness with others as freely as it’s been shared with us
  •  a community gathered here today to proclaim anew


  • that love has conquered betrayal
  • That light has conquered darkness
  • That joy has conquered despair
  • That faith has conquered fear
  • That life has conquered death!


Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!