Skip to content

04.04.21 Start the Stone a Rollin’ Mark 16.1-8 Sermon Summary

by on April 6, 2021

One year ago when churches, most of which were closed, were asked what they were going to do for Easter 2020, many said, “We’ll celebrate Easter when we reopen.” Then the pandemic dragged on into the summer, then into the fall. Some tried to reopen; many did not.

A year has passed. I say we’ve been in a year-long Lent. But we are here this morning. Christos anesti! Alithos anesti! Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed! We have a renewed hope. There are vaccines approved and more coming. We have a better understanding of the virus and what we can do to avoid it.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, we all need to take the Sabbath. For many people the pandemic imposed a Sabbath with the interruption of routine. Some lost all or part of a job. Others began working at home. Some were able to increase their physical exercise. Others did pandemic projects. Many used the time to refocus their lives.

Others, however, had no Sabbath at all. Their work increased with continuous adaptions. I’m thinking of teachers, medical professionals, and many small businesses owners.

But we need to take the Sabbath. It is the blessing in disguise of this pandemic. God commanded the Sabbath so we would stop, so that we would reflect, so that we could ask some questions.

Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome took the Sabbath. They took time to reflect and time to ask questions. One question in particular rose to the surface: “Who will roll the stone away?”

The day before, Jesus was crucified and buried. The next day his bodily anointing needed to be refreshed. The women had prepared spices, but who would roll away the stone?

This is a question of accepting reality. It is a question of grief. It is a question of taking a step forward. The Sabbath allows us time to accept reality, to grieve, and to envision a next step. This is one of the great gifts of the Sabbath, and why God commanded us to take the Sabbath: To accept reality, to grieve, and to envision a next step.

The women had envisioned the next step, a next step toward a new normal. They had Jesus’ teaching. They had Jesus’ community. But they did not have Jesus—not anymore. They would remember him at Passover every year as the new Lamb of God. 

But the next step today was anointing his body, and before that could happen, the question had to be answered: “Who will roll away the stone?

This was the first of many unresolved questions. Where should we go? Should we stay in Jerusalem? Should we go back to Galilee? Should we retrace the master’s steps?

And there were other questions about leadership. Should we turn to Peter, James, or John? Maybe one of Jesus’ brothers? What about Mary Magdalene?

Well, they set out for the tomb with the first question unresolved. But they arrived at the tomb and discover the first question had been answered. “Who will roll away the stone?” Jesus had rolled it away! For Jesus had been resurrected from the dead!

All other questions now had to be re-asked. All other questions now had to be re-answered. Because Jesus was not gone; Jesus was alive! Now the next question was, Where shall we go? 

And the answer they learned: Galilee! Back to the beginning. Back to former life. But it would be different.

Let me ask you something: Don’t you want to go back to Galilee? Don’t you want to go back to church, back to school, back to shopping? Aren’t you looking forward to going back to dining out, traveling, visiting friends, throwing parties, handshakes, and hugs? 

Don’t we want to go back to the NEW new normal—because the old new normal is gone—Jesus has risen. The NEW, new normal awaits; a new normal with Jesus in it.

Many of us can’t go back. Many of us have experienced an irreversible loss—a loss of life, loss of health, loss of relationship, or loss of opportunity. We’ve experienced losses that don’t allow for a return or even some sort of resemblance.

Yet even in these situations the Risen Christ is present, returning to lead us into a new life. Even here, there is hope.

The return to our Galilee awaits. We’re not there yet. It will be different. And it will be OK. The Resurrected Christ will meet us there.

We’ve spent the last year in Holy Saturday, in that Sabbath between Friday and Sunday. Let’s take time to ask the questions, to think about the new normal—not the one without Jesus, but the one with Jesus. 

The first question of the women, “Who will roll away the stone?” had its answer: The Resurrected Christ had rolled the stone away. So now with these women, who are going back to Galilee, let us say– 

We are looking forward to a new normal of a different kind of potluck. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’!  We are looking forward to a new normal of a different kind of fellowship. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’!  We are looking forward to a new normal of different ways of learning. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’!

We are looking forward to a new normal of different ways of worshiping together. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’! We are looking forward to a new normal of different ways of serving our neighbors. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’! We are looking forward to a new normal of different ways of praying to God. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’! We are looking forward to a new normal of a different way of being church. We don’t yet know exactly how, but start the stone a rollin’!

Yes, Lord! Start that stone a rollin’! ‘Cause we have questions, and we wanna go back to Galilee, and Jesus is alive. We know you can do it. We know you will meet us there. We know it will be a new normal. We know it will be different. 

We don’t yet know exactly how, Lord, but start the stone a rollin’! Cause we are ready! Alleluia! Amen!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: