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Easter Sunrise

Mark 16:1-8


Mark, in his gospel tells us that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb of Jesus covered in black, prepared to see a corpse. Instead, they find the stone rolled back and see a “young man dressed in a white robe.” This “young man” all in white, the color that no one would have ever wear for a funeral,” is a messenger sent by God. Over time, Christian legend made him an angel, but not an angel of death, rather an angel of life.

I try to recreate that extraordinary moment — “Ladies, I know that you are looking for someone who is not here. Wrong address, ladies! Why are you looking here among the dead the One who is alive, and well, already on his way back home, to Galilee.”

Imagine those women’s shock — they come to the tomb looking for Jesus of Nazareth and leave with the story of the risen Christ for all the world to hear. They come to that spot in a gloomy and forgotten cemetery in their traditional role of anointing women and leave the tomb in the radical role of apostles to the apostles.

They come to the tomb slowly, cautiously, filled with troublesome thoughts, like, “Who will roll back the stone for us?” And they leave the tomb running, casting all caution to the wind, proclaiming the good news that Jesus has been raised from the dead.


All the resurrection stories are like this, my friends. They are stories of believers who at first want to hold tightly to the empty tomb, to the old yeast that never rises. But in the biblical stories of this Easter season, God tells us not to stay at the tomb with an old dreary way of looking at life with sighs and fears.

For Jesus is not among the dead, neither he belongs to the past.

The Easter messenger, if you remember, tells the women not to cry, or not to worry at the tomb because Jesus isn’t there. He is already on his way back where he truly belongs – with God’s people to inspire them and e power them to experience resurrection in their own lives and communities.

As we said on Palm Sunday, Jesus invites his followers then and now to follow him to our own Galilees – our own families, our own neighborhoods, our own world, our entire Creation, even our own churches, wherever and whenever God may be working to restore everlasting joy, hope, gratitude, and love.


Friends, that Easter sunrise was no ordinary sunrise –it was extraordinary! Why, then, this sunrise today should be less than extraordinary?

This, our own sunrise, this morning, hosted by such a welcoming farm family, with beautiful hills all around our eyes and towering empty crosses, and so close to our own welcoming and cozy chapel right there [pointing], such a peaceful morning and lovely faces . . .

This, our own sunrise 2000 years later should be no less extraordinary than the sunrise that changed those women’s lives forever. No less extraordinary than the sunrise that changed disciples’ lives forever.

No less extraordinary than the sunrise one that changed our own lives forever the moment we welcome the Risen Christ into our hearts and minds.

Now we can see people and things from a different perspective. We can see ourselves from a different perspective. Once again, we believe in new beginnings.

Even the way we face living, and even suffering and dying changes. And we a are always exited, always ready to follow Jesus to Galilee, to do our very best to live as Easter people usually live in a Good Friday world.


Let me close with a story about the Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous witer, when he was seven or eight-years old.

He loved to watch the lamplighter at work evening after evening, how the man moved down the street lightning the street lamps one by one. One evening, the Stevenson child stood silently at his window longer than he used to.


His mother read that sudden, prolonged silence as evidence of mischief, so she called out from her kitchen and asked Stevenson what he was doing. Young Stevenson replied, “Mom, I’m watching someone punch holes in the darkness.”


Punching holes in the darkness – that’s what God did that first sunrise in Palestine. Punching holes in the darkness — that’s what God is doing this morning here in our own sunrise in this welcoming Buckeystown farm. Punching holes in the darkness of a Good Friday world so divided, so conflicted, so stressed out — such is our call today and every day, my friends.


As we just said, living like Easter people usually do in a Good Friday world.