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Resurrection Retrospective

Easter 7 Common Lectionary Year B

©2018 Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones

The following is not a ‘sermon’ but rather the outline for our all-ages exploration of the Markan Gospel reading for Easter Sunday, and the Resurrection Project we have been engaged in for the 50 Great Days between Easter and Pentecost.

A colleague of mine, now retired from seminary teaching,
asked earlier this week, “What’s your text for preaching this Sunday?”
My answer was this: it will be Mark 16: verses 9 and following.
Smart man, he said “The non-Mark endings?”
I said “Yes. But not the ones that we find printed in the Bible,
my preaching, our exploration text, will be the verses that are written
in the lives of the people of Cedar Park United.”

He was intrigued, and knows me well enough to know that I believe
as did 17th century Preacher John Robinson, that the “Holy Spirit hath more truth yet to break forth out of God’s Holy Word,”[1] than can be contained by the covers of this book.

You see, Mark the Gospellerwas playing tricks with us.
He finished his Easter Gospel at verse 8 with silence and fear:
“The women fled from the tomb, and told no-one, because they were terrified.”

But Mark knows that we know that’s not true!
These women who were terrified,
and silent….well,something happened to them!
Because they did tell someone,
otherwise we wouldn’t be here!
Something happened to their fear to make them
become Gospellers themselves,
spreading Resurrection news far and wide.

Perhaps they prayed and heard the call of God,
to follow Jesus and to go where God sends them?

Perhaps they talked with one another
and the other followers of Jesus,
who were also hiding,
silent, empty and frightened.
Perhaps they said to one another,

“But…. what if Jesus actually is risen?
What if, as he taught us,
life wins,
life emerges from the places of death?
What would that be like?”

(screen shots of shoots, eggs, butterflies)

Perhaps they said to one another,
“What if, as he taught us,
it is we who now get to live Christ’s risen life?
What would that be like?”

What would that be like?
What if we were to carry on loving, like he did,
caring like he did?
offering healing, like he did?
feeding the hungry, like he did?
teaching of the Dream of God, like he did?
What would that look like, to them? To us?

What if, we Mary, Mary, Salome,
what if we, RevE, Martha, Douglas
what if we, Ruth, Grace, Pat,
what if we Henri, Michael, Bob,
what if we, mothers and children of mothers
were to proclaim hope, life, peace, love, justice,
especially in the places of death, and fear and pain?

What if?
we get to live Christ’s Risen Life,
what if we get to notice and proclaim
all the resurrections we see around us?
What if?
We have a whole bunch of these shapes:
they could be eggs, Easter eggs.
They are silent and empty right now
but we’re going to write our Gospel verses on them.
Signs of New Life,
of hope, of resurrection,
as we have seen it and proclaimed it in the last 43 days.

We are going to be, for now
Mary, Mary and Salome,
little groups of three,
working together to decide
what New Life we will proclaim!

Here are some Resurrection Project moments that have been shared,
by audio recordings in KidZone, and on Facebook
in Resurrection Project notebooks, in emails and phone messages that Marth and I’ve received
these past 43 days. (all used with permission)

1. Easter morning was cold! But we heard the bells, and sang together and shared bread and smiles, and said Happy Easter/Joyeuses Paques. It was holy.

2. I saw chickadees, and a raccoon, and purple flowers and birds at the feeder. Spring.

3. The day the ice froze the grass into little baubles, they were like jewels in the grass!

4. I fell over, and my friend helped me up.

5. Choosing to be generous: at the office, doing each other’s clean up tasks, knowing that it will be done for you another time.

6. Seeing Islam with his Canadian flag, the day his family landed safe in Montreal.

7. The Welcome Supper, sharing the same meal with Sa’ed’s family in the same place. It’s a miracle.

8. Choosing to greet the airport workers on the night shift by name, and watching how quickly smiles and human connection can happen.

9. Sharing tears at the damage the New Brunswick floods are doing to favourite places, but knowing we need to let go, because the earth will mend again, and new memories will be made.

10. Grieving a loved one, but knowing how real they still are in dreams and in memory.

11. Feeling the healing of my body after surgery. Being cared for by phone calls from friends.

12. Making Butterfly seed packets to help create habitat for bees and butterflies. Taking care of the earth, like God asks us to.

The congregation created RP moments on paper shapes

Let me bring this all together.

On Easter Sunday, I said
“Our first attempts to see new life and hope, and healing and generosity can feel foolish and inconsequential. But if we take up Mark’s challenge, to become the voice of Mary, Mary and Salome, the Gospellers of Resurrection, “seeing goodness and celebrating it, nourishing possibility, choosing the healing path and the caring word…. what new life, new hope, might be unleashed upon the world through us?”

Since Easter evening, Martha and I have posted 89 Resurrection Project Posts, Doing some quick research yesterday, these posts have reached or been seen over 4000 times, in 11 different countries, generating 900 “Likes/Loves.” Some of you have posted your own Resurrection project posts, about new life in Senegal, healing from surgery, chicks hatching, a new birdsong heard for the first time, noticing a family of rabbits, feeling new life in old bones, planting memorial flowers, family reconciliations, and who knows how far we have reached with this tiny seed of hope, this whispered proclamation?
This is how the Good News of God spread, then 2000 years ago, and now.
What new life and hope has been unleashed? Such life, and hope!
Thanks be to God.

 

[1] John Robinson, in his charge to the Mayflower Pilgrims before they embarked. Quoted in various sources, this from Broadbent, Pilgrim Church.

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