Easter: Making Sense of it All 2021
John 20:1-18 & Mark 16:1-8 CEB
Pastor Nancy Amos
Call to Worship
Pastor Nancy: Christ is risen!
All: Christ is risen indeed!
Melinda: Christ is risen!
All: Christ is risen indeed!
Pastor Nancy: Exhale. [pause] Go ahead, exhale. Breathe out. Let go. On this Easter Sunday, allow your souls to be replenished. Take in the joy. Take in peace. Take in the togetherness. Take what you need.
Melinda: And wonder. Wonder, and imagine, and reflect, and question, and listen. Listen deeply to the words and the songs. Listen deeply to the Holy Spirit. And hear the words that God has for you.
Pastor Nancy: We emerge from the long days of Lent; our journey through the wilderness. And we acknowledge that there is a darkness that seems to loom in this world. And we remember that nestled within the great mystery of the Resurrection is a great light. Search for that light, that hope on this day.
Melinda: So, we come into this space, this sacred space, and we bring ourselves; our whole
selves. We encourage you to celebrate. And, as we celebrate the Risen Savior, we invite you to bring your full selves into worship because Christ is risen!
All Voices: Christ is risen!
All Voices: Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Loving, Powerful God, joy floods over our souls on this day! Christ is risen! Fear is vanquished! Open our hearts and our spirits to receive fully the joy which has been given for us! Let us celebrate the victory of Christ and the hope for the future! Amen.
Scripture John 20:1-18 CEB
Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” 3 Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. 4 They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. 5 Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. 7 He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. 8 Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.
11 Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. 13 The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.” Then she told them what he said to her.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. 3 They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) 5 Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. 6 But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. 7 Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” 8 Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8 CEB
God’s ways are different from our ways.
The Pharisees did not understand this truth, and neither did the apostles. They waited for the messiah to come on their terms.
We begin to make sense of life when we ask, “Who?”
After certain life events many of us ask the questions; how or why? More often than not the Bible addresses the question, “Who?” The stories of creation tell us who created not how or why. God created. How or why God created is a mystery.
It is our acceptance of God’s grace that helps us to make sense of it all.
We cannot say that God’s will causes everything that happens. The same God behind the creation of the universe is at work even now, wherever there is crisis or sorrow or pain. God is at work bringing comfort, hope, and resurrection. Faith steps in when we cannot understand yet choose to believe in the gracious God who is about the work of redemption. Only God can take the tragedy of the cross and turn it into an Easter celebration.
Steps of Faith
- In your acceptance of God’s grace for all, would you extend an invitation to come to church to the graffiti writers?
- Invite friends, family to come alongside you in this journey to discovering God and who you are in God.
Resources: Bible by God, UMC lectionary