Saturday, April 07, 2012

April 8, 2012

Today's text

Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. They had been saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?' But when they looked they saw that the stone -- which was very big -- had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, 'There is no need to be so amazed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you to Galilee; that is where you will see him, just as he told you." ' And the women came out and ran away from the tomb because they were frightened out of their wits; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


There are some people you just love, and I love these people, these three, who walk to Jesus tomb.

I love them because they look so much like other faces I have known, faces I have known around the world; faces I’ve laughed and cried with, faces I have known and loved, right here … in this place.

I have seen these faces tracked with tears, faces that know the pains of living and loving and laying to rest someone they loved more than they thought.

The faces of the three who come to Jesus tomb are like this, and I love them for the love I see in them.

They come to the place of death to perform an act of love, to anoint their tortured, lifeless friend, Jesus, a final blessing for one who loved them completely, totally, despite their confusion, doubt, betrayal and failure to understand or be of much help to him.

I want the same thing for them that I want for every face I meet in the communion line each week. I want this same thing for every person I have seen standing at the foot of a grave, and for every soul who enters my office space bearing the wounds and weight life lays on human beings.

I want the stone that crushes them to be moved away. But who will roll away the stone?

Who will roll away the stone that weighs our souls and entombs our hearts? I need someone, something to roll away the stone that weighs me down, that entombs my heart.

For I am like you. I want to live.


So often, I don’t.

I am held down by the stone that traps me in my tomb. It is failure, failure to be the person I am, failure to share the love I feel, the goodness I know in myself and others. There is fear that life is passing me by, that I have failed to live because I have been too afraid … to share the love I feel from the living Christ, afraid of rejection or of being dismissed, devalued and unaccepted.

There are other stones that trap you in the place of death, where joy does not come.

Our stones are the weight of the past and the fear of the future, the wounds and regrets we bear that won’t let us go. Our stones are the pains of the present and anxieties about tomorrow that weigh so heavily we can’t breathe deeply and feel freedom and peace, confidence and joy.

You can name the stones that entomb you: Deaths you continue to grieve; disappointments, losses and failures that refuse to release their grip; fears about growing old and sick; heart wounds inflicted by those who may not have a clue that their words stick to us like glue. Our stones are the hard work of caring for loved ones and work that wears us down and erodes our joy; then there is the doubt that God is real or good, or that God will come to us when we hurt and need.

Who will roll away the stone? It’s the Easter question. Often, our most honest prayer is, “Good Lord, move that stone.”


Let me tell you why I am here, why I am a pastor and why I bother to struggle to talk about things I will never understand.

I have met a power that moves stones, a power that is not force but love. I have seen it, felt it and been set free by it.

I hunger for it because I need that love to come and release me from my tomb again and again lest my heart grow weary and joyless.

I find this love exactly where the messenger at the tomb says it will be found, in Galilee.

Don’t look for Jesus in a tomb, the messenger says, and don’t be so afraid and confused. There is no need. Go to Galilee. There you will see him, feel him, know him. There you will meet the Jesus who lives and moves stones away that you may live.

Galilee was home for Jesus’ friends, the place of their normal life and work. There they … you … will see him.

Open your eyes; open your heart that you may see him where he is … in the places you live.

He will meet you in a love that is new every morning, whispering in your soul that your hunger for the fullness of life and joy is not an illusion but the gift the risen Jesus will give you each day.

The love of God that filled Jesus is risen and released into creation. He flows into relationships and seeps into the structures and fabric of all reality. The love that he is labors in the depths of matter and in every circumstance of our lives.

We live in the environment of Jesus risen presence. The risen One surrounds us like an ocean of love and grace, working in hidden and unseen ways amid the daily and the drab, the demands and destruction.

He is there in seemingly forsaken moments of pain and loss when we don’t see or feel him, when all we have is the promise that sooner or later we will see and know him again in our Galilee.

He will meet us, sometimes when we least expect.

But we will know him … because our hearts will be lifted by love and the stones that hold us down will be rolled away … and we will know what it is to feel alive and free.

I meet my risen Lord in the words, the tears, the blessing, the hope I see in you.

For you, the people of this congregation, are my Galilee, the place of common life where I have been told to go looking for Jesus.

If you want to see Jesus, don’t run away and pretend you can be Christian all by yourself. Hang out with people who love him, who want to feel him, who are moved by the great love that is in him.

Listen to them, pray with them, play with them, drink and laugh with them, share your hopes and hurts with them. Sooner or later you will look into their eyes and see the Love that made the stars staring back at you.

You will know the Love that kills death and moves stones from heavy hearts.

And you will know that Jesus is risen … and is out there ahead of you ... in Galilee.

Pr. David L. Miller

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

rThank you. This has been a special Easter season. Yes, our church is Galilee where we meet Jesus.-the caring hugs and good wishes.Some new revelation have been revealed to me. Thanks for forgivness and TRUST that all will be well if brought to Jesus. Thank you for your message.