Easter Sunday Mark 16:1-8 April 4, 2021

FRAID TO GO TO GALILEE?

Throughout the entire gospel of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples to keep secret his identity until after His resurrection. Of course, because of that admonition, his followers told everyone right away.

Now it is the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene and the other women have come to complete the task of preparing Jesus’ body for burial. While they are headed there, they are wondering who is going to roll away the stone so they can do their last love and devotion to Jesus by wrapping his body in a linen cloth and covering it with spices. They are prepared to deal with death, but not what awaited them.

Wonder of wonders, when they get to the tomb the stone has been rolled away and a young man is seated in the tomb on the right side. He tells them you are seeking Jesus; he is not here. Go tell his disciples – and Peter – he has risen and will meet them in Galilee.

They are not only astounded but are filled with fear. There are several possibilities. In Jesus’ day there was the general belief that there would be a general resurrection, but the resurrection of one person. Who would believe such a story from a group of women in an age when a woman was not even allowed to testify in court? Or could it be something else? They are being called not only to tell the disciples and Peter but to go back to Galilee where he would be meeting them.

Galilee, where Jesus grew up; Galilee where he did his first preaching and healing; Galilee where they attempted to stone him when he read the Isaiah text in the synagogue and told them he was here to fulfill the prophecy. How could the son of a carpenter be the Messiah? They attempted to kill him. He had to push his way through the crowd to get away. He was so rejected in Nazareth that he made his ministry headquarters in Capernaum.

And yet, if he has risen from the dead that makes all the difference. People need to hear this man who they rejected was the Messiah. It is true: a prophet is not without honor save in their own country.

It’s obvious they told someone, or we would not have the gospel story that has been proclaimed to the ends of the earth.

It is now our Easter morning, the first time we have been able to worship together on Easter Sunday in two years. We are in the midst of a country struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. We are told by the health authorities that we are close to the finish line of herd immunity. Forty percent of adults in our country have received at least one vaccine shot. Experts guess we will have herd immunity, but until we get to at least seventy percent vaccinated we must remain super vigilant. In the meantime, continue to frequently wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear masks. It is a shame that some places have given up these precautions and a fourth wave of the virus seems to be starting.

I believe we who are experiencing resurrection need to hold on until the crisis is over. I wonder what our world will be like after the crisis is over. What will our resurrected faith lead us to do back in our Galilees?

What is your Galilee like? If you are a child, how are you getting along with your siblings and your parents. How does the healing and reconciliation between us and God affect our relationships with other members of our family?

We are located at the corner of North Main Street and Skeet Club Road. Skeet Club is being widened and construction of housing is happening. What will that mean for our future. I believe a central task of the church is to make disciples and go discipling. What do you think that population growth will mean for us?

The George Floyd trial is highlighting black criminals who are not being treated the same by police as white criminals. Asians are alerting us to how many hate crimes are happening to them because of Asian prejudice. We were even further shocked to see people observing an elderly Asian woman being kicked and the security guard closing the door so he would not get involved. The attack on the Capitol shows us how powerful a lie can be. Many invaded the Capitol believing the lie that Trump actually won.

On the other hand, I am excited about the church’s use of technology, especially through Zoom to broadcast their worship service to people’s homes. There are specially made communion cups sealed with wine and a wafer that makes it possible to safely serve Holy Communion to our shut-ins.

I am excited how quickly drug manufacturers have been able to develop the vaccine and that the Government is doing over two million inoculations per day.

What does your Galilee look like? What does the ending of the pandemic and the power of resurrection mean for your life in this community and your job? I earlier told you recovering from mononucleosis changed my life. Getting reconciled with my estranged father after thirty years in the San Diego airport changed my life again.

Coming here to just preach from time to time and then feeling called by the Holy Spirit to respond to your need as an Interim is a resurrection event that has renewed my opportunity to preach and share the insights the scripture is giving me today.

We humans are surprisingly conservative. We do not like change, and yet the young man is telling us to go back to Galilee and live a new resurrected life. He is risen. He is risen indeed!

Amen.