|Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost||July 8, 2012||Sermon, Proper 9, Year B||2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost||July 1, 2012||Sermon, Proper 8, Year B||Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43|
|Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost||June 24, 2012||Sermon, Proper 7, Year B||Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41|
|Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost||June 10, 2012||Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost)||Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1|
|Trinity Sunday, Year B||June 3, 2012||Trinity Sunday, Year B||Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 27, 2012||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15|
|Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 13, 2012||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17|
|Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 6, 2012||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18|
|Third Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 22, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||Luke 24:36b-48|
|Second Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 15, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||John 20:19-31|
|➤Easter, April 8, 2012||April 8, 2012||Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B||Mark 16:1-8|
|Good Friday, April 6, 2012||April 6, 2012||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 25, 2012||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 12:20-33|
Easter, April 8, 2012
Sermon Date:April 8, 2012
Scripture: Mark 16:1-8
Liturgy Calendar: Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B
Mark’s gospel begins with these words—“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
So how could a book that claims to be about good news end with this phrase?
“And they, the women, said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid….”
Now we human beings really want stories to have happy endings, especially stories that claim to be good news. And if a story doesn’t have a happy ending, our urge is to “fix” that story. Through the centuries, writers of manuscripts have tried to change the end of this gospel with additions like the line you find in your bulletin insert today, known as “The Shorter Ending of Mark” in which the women end up briefly telling Peter what they have heard, and then Jesus sends out through them the proclamation of eternal salvation.
But I like the first ending better.
If the gospel according to Mark were made into a movie, the final scene might look something like this—three women dash out of the dark entrance of the tomb into the brilliant sunlight. The camera focuses on their faces, twisted in fear, as they hurry past. They fade into the distance, and then the camera turns once more—to a dark and empty doorway.
And then the movie ends—in silence.
This ending is so true to life. So many things in our lives end badly. People let us down, and relationships are broken. Our bodies let us down. Jobs end, sometimes badly. People we love die unexpectedly and horribly. And if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes we have to admit that deep down inside we feel that God has chosen to let our story end badly and is nowhere to be found.
But those bad endings in our lives are exactly where God meets us.
Some of you will remember the phone call I got on the first Wednesday evening in March near the end of the Village Dinner.
A friend of mine, Brian, had been killed in a horrible accident. His wife, Jenny, and son, Noah, were downtown, where they had first received the news. Those of us who had gathered to support Jenny and Noah waited with them through phone calls and more arrivals and the back and forth of the detectives. Time passed.
Jenny just couldn’t bear the thought of going home.
So we went to my house instead, and drank some tea, and then when she had gotten up the nerve, we went to Jenny’s dark and silent house.
We walked in, and Jenny went through the familiar rooms, now made unfamiliar by Brian’s absence. Jenny’s life as she knew it had ended abruptly, and now a new phase of her life was beginning, whether she wanted it or not.
No one would describe Brian’s death as an Easter moment.
And that’s precisely why I love the gospel according to Mark, with its abrupt ending, because the good news of Easter is that God will meet us, especially in the dark and empty silences when we can’t see God or hear God or feel God’s presence.
God meets us there, in our brokenness.
God finds us in the empty darkness.
God offers to us redemption and a new beginning.
That’s the promise of Easter.
And even when we can’t feel the truth of this promise, as Christians, we can act on this promise by faith, by gathering, Sunday after Sunday to hear the story of Jesus all over again, to find Him present here with us, here in this Galilee, in the love we share with one another, even in our worst moments, and in our toughest endings.
Every week, through faith, we find the Risen One present here with us in the bread and wine,
and today, we find Him present with us in the water of baptism,
For in the water of baptism, “we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.”
And those words about the water of baptism bring us the good news and the gift of Easter–
resurrection, a new beginning and a new birth.
“Do not be alarmed,” the heavenly messenger said to the women, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised, he is not here in this tomb. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see him, just as he told you”
That’s the blessing of Easter, that even in our worst endings is a new beginning,
the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the crucified and Risen Son of God.