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Waiting in Resurrection - Mark 16 (short ending)
By Rev. Ruth Lumax, First United Church, Wetaskiwin
April 4, 2018
I wonder if you've ever waited for a sun rise?
I've waited for sun rise in a variety of situations. Some more comfortable than others.
I've waited with friends after a long evening of good stories, when the time around campfire or kitchen table has slipped away and it only makes sense to wait for and share those first dancing lights along the horizon.
I've waited through the night for labour to start, and I've waited through the night for labour to stop.
I've ached for the morning to come after long nights pacing the floor with a sick child; or huddled in a rain-swept tent as the thunder and lightening crashes.
I have spent many a long night almost dreading the morning and wondering what I might say, on yet another Sunday morning, that you haven't already heard or know.
But probably one of the longest nights of my life happened while I was a student minister. I got a call around midnight. One of our congregants was asking me to come and sit with a woman whose son had just been killed in a stabbing. It was her neighbour, someone who didn't have any church connection. So I went. And in that candlelit kitchen, over countless cups of tea, I heard a bit of the story. Not only was the woman grieving the death of her son, but police had already been to see her, because it was her other son who had done the stabbing. I did not know then, nor do I now really have any words to soften the pain of such a situation. I can only be present, lean into the pain and into a deeper trust in God and the resiliency of love to find a way through such nights. Because what I do know is that people have found a way through such long and disturbing nights. And some of them have managed to emerge with their kindness and grace intact, battered and aching perhaps, but still there. And I want to be one of them.
We who hear the stories of resurrection so many years later, if we are to have an inkling of what's going on in them, need to make some connection to our own experiences of long nights, waiting for a sunrise. Lean into our own pain and trust that deeper still is the resilient and steadfast love of God. Too often we are tempted to jump from the hosannas of Palm Sunday to the hallelujahs of Easter. Trying to ignore the horror and brutality of Good Friday. We do so at the peril of our own healing and well-being. To enter into such a story, is to discover a sturdier hope, born of despair, not candy-coated. To enter into such a story, is to find that resurrection is already happening. It is not of our making, but we need to show up, to trust it, to participate in it. And risk telling others about this life that can come from death.
Each of the gospel writers tell the story of Jesus' last night and those first resurrection days slightly differently. In Mark's gospel, presumed to be the earliest account, apart from brief mentions in Paul's letters, Jesus dies on the day before Sabbath, which starts after sundown on Friday according to Jewish custom. It is the day of preparation, when all the things happen that need to happen, so the Sabbath is a time to rest and give thanks. According to Mark, there is enough time following Jesus' death for Joseph of Arimathea to buy linens in which to wrap the body, and have it placed in a tomb. There is enough time for some of the women to go and buy the spices needed to prepare the body for burial. But there is not ...
Guidelines for Reflections
Promote, cultivate and strengthen community within the Presbytery and among the wider population.
Encourage listening and responding in faith.
Enhance the spiritual growth and well-being of members, adherents and wider community.
Facilitate dialogue around theological and social issues.
Waiting in Resurrection
Following the Way that is True and Finding Life
A Life Worth Living
Thank God for the shepherds in our lives
Saints in your neighbourhood
Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy
Positive relationship between Science and Religion
Why I am leaving the United Church of Canada
A Different Perspective
My Spruce Tree
Happy New Year!
Are You Ready?
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