Launch Sermon Player

Mark 16:1-8

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus’ body. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 And when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But the young man said to them, “Do not be afraid; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 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.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!


Please pray with me this morning, church:

Risen Christ,

We rejoice in your resurrection dawn.

Call us out of our tombs, this morning.

Take us by the hand and raise us to life with you.



Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

So, I have a confession, church…I’m actually a pretty bad storyteller.

Surprising, I know. But it’s true.

And like, yes, ok, I am a pretty decent, an ok, preacher. But storyteller…well, that’s a different…well…story…

The thing is, I have this need to tell you all of the surrounding details of a story, I have this need to have you know, like, the context and the sub-contexts and everything…before I actually get around to telling you the story.

I had this talent in college…I call it a talent…of being able to single-handedly end any conversation. I’d side-step my way into a conversation with a really marginally tangential point. Or ask a clarifying question about something they were talking about like 2 minutes beforehand. Or I’d spend so long setting up the story, that folks just checked out before I actually told the story. I told you…conversation-ender…

This is real, y’all. Just, ask Tiffany some time…I’m really bad at it. I can never just, like, get to the point.

Which is a wonder, then, that the Gospel of Mark is one of my favorite gospel accounts. Because the author of Mark is all about the point. The author of Mark wastes zero time. This story is important. And it has to be told now. And everything is “Immediately” this or “Suddenly” that. The author of Mark needs you to know this story…urgently. Often wasting little time with mundane things like details.

Get. To. The point.

Which is kind of how the Gospel of Mark ends here. The resurrection story of Jesus are these last verses of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel ends with these verses 1 through 8 from chapter 16. And especially verse 8: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Done. The end.

Great… So where’d this story come from…?

If the women said nothing to anyone, how’d we come to learn this story? Who told the author of Mark? What a strange way for a story to end. And who’s the young dude chilling in the tomb with a white robe? Doesn’t anyone find this weird?

This resurrection gospel from Mark this morning has the feel of a false ending…like it ended, but did it actually…?

Mark is unique from all the other gospel accounts. There are no post-resurrection appearances in Mark, no walking through walls, no brunch on the beach, no poking your fingers into Jesus’ side…Mark just…ends.

“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”



Easter can feel like a false ending in some ways. It is the end of one story, right? If you’ve walked through this Holy Week, the Resurrection is a welcome, even if expected, ending to a story that we feel deeply in our lives. We began Holy Week by crying out “Hosanna!,” right? “Save us!” And we arrive this morning with shouts of “Alleluia!” I don’t know about you, but after a 40-day fast from this word, my “Alleluias” are ready to just burst out of me.

Truthfully, the fast feels a little longer than 40 days…

In some ways it feels like we’ve been fasting from Easter joy for a little over a year.

There’s so much that’s been tuned upside down. So much that isn’t at all what we thought it would be. So much that we feel like we missed out on.

In many ways, it feels like we’ve been sealed up in the tomb for over a year, and we’re not actually sure the end of this tomb stage of this pandemic is really on it’s way. It feels like the end of the pandemic is on it’s way, but man, we’ve gotten confident before…and it kicked our butt back into place.

So how can we trust that the sun will actually rise, again and again?

Like Thomas will say next week, “Show me the proof.” Give me something on which to bank my hope.

The deep truth here, people of God, is sometimes resurrection can take some time. Sometimes resurrection can take a while. Sometimes our cries of “Save us!” don’t turn into shouts of “Alleluia” in the neat and easy span of 1 week.

This has been the longest year any of us have ever experienced. Guaranteed. The longest and the Lentiest year. And it wasn’t just the pandemic, remember? An extremely active hurricane season. Hurricane Laura over in Lake Charles. A red hot summer with protests for justice and for change. A divisive and contentious election season that left friends and families at odds with each other. A flippin’ polar vortex that dove all the way down from the stable northern air to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast. Yet another opportunity for folks to show up as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.

Maybe you showed up to help. Maybe you experienced the humbling posture of servanthood from others…in being cared for—having your feet washed—having your needs taken care of by friends, family, or even strangers.

Some of us have experienced the agony and heavy weight of grief, pain, suffering, and even death, even recently. Certainly as a global humanity, we feel this. Over 2.8 million people dead from a virus, 550,000 just in this country.

And yet still others of us are feeling pretty great, all things considered. Got some vaccines in our arms, we’re feeling young and spry. Some of us are able to muster up some pretty strong “Alleluias!” and really mean it.

But wherever you are, wherever you’re finding yourself this Easter Day, it’s why we’re here together, to do this with one another. Because sometimes I’ll be feeling pretty great, all things considered, and I’ll be able to shout out “Alleluia!” with some strong gusto and really mean it. And sometimes I’ll barely be able to muster a feeble shake of my bell and I’ll need you to exclaim “Alleluia” for me.

But that’s why you’re here this morning, isn’t it? That’s why we’re here this morning. Because you know that this life thing is a team sport. We’re here with one another, for one another.

Sometimes our cries of “Save us!” last longer than a day, sometimes suffering lingers for more than a few hours, sometimes the pall of death hangs over us for more than just three days… But the good news in all of this, church, as all the gospel writers will tell you, is that resurrection is coming.

New life is breaking forth.

Again and again, the sun will rise.

Because the sun has risen before. And we know the sun will rise again.

This is the hope we stake our lives on.

The resurrection promise is that God’s intention for you and for all of humanity is life, and life abundant, and nothing will stop that life from breaking forth, even if it seems to take some time. God overcomes death so that the fear of death would have no power over you. Death has been swallowed up forever, and the power of sin to keep you separated from God and your neighbor has been crushed under Christ’s foot.

The deep truth in Christ’s death and resurrection is that there is no place that God will not go to be with you. God would go through hell and back to be in a relationship with you.

There is nothing that God won’t do to show you just how much God loves you.

Though Mark’s gospel feels like an ending in some ways, in many others, it’s only a beginning. The resurrection proclamation we hear this morning invites and begs us to finish this story.

Because God’s promise of new and restored and abundant life finds us in our dark tombs that we’ve sealed ourselves in, but by God, it doesn’t leave us there.

And knowing that, how could you possibly stay silent? What will you do with this story of your salvation?

You get to be the story-tellers, church.

Tell this story of your salvation…attest to it, witness to it, testify to the hope that is in you. Tell someone how this story has made a difference in your life.

This story…your story…is still being written, church. How is God calling you into it?

There is only one ending to this story, even if it takes some time to get there. It is God’s restoration and resurrection of all things, and God’s reconciliation of all things back to God.

The importance of traveling through Holy Week is that wherever you are this morning, wherever you find yourself…if you’re feeling jubilant or crying out “Save me!” while waving your palm branches, if you’re feeling covered by the long shadows of Good Friday or the deep darkness of the tomb, Jesus has walked that way, Jesus has been there. And if Jesus has been there, then God has been there.

God has been there, and God is with you there.

Again and again, God shows up there. Where we most need God.

God finds us in the deepest and darkest places of our lives, and God pulls us up, restores us, and raises us with Christ and calls us out to be Christ’s hands and feet, to actually be the body of Christ, to a world in desperate need of saving.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.