by Jennifer DiFrancesco
the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it. Amen.
-New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book
Scripture: Mark 16:1-8
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. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. 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. 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.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
“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.” -Mark 16:6
The practices of Lent might seem strange or a little bizarre to those who don’t know the origin of the practices. On Easter, we inherit another practice. It is the practice of resurrection. This practice is the heart of Christianity. If we are honest with ourselves, our practice of resurrection is probably the one we fail at most. Resurrection practice scoffs at death, and breathes new life into the world we encounter. Resurrection practice is more than walking into a sanctuary, and savoring the lilies and/or tulips. It is more than bringing one of those flowers to the host of your Easter dinner. It is about witnessing God at work in the redeeming of creation and also participating in that work.
Peter Rollins says it best: “I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system. However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.”
Questions to Spark Conversation
-The empty tomb struck fear and confusion into the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body. What things seize you with fear and confusion?
-After their initial shock, the women gathered themselves. They eventually told people what they saw. After all, we know the story today. They progressed from fear to faith. Who or what helps you move from fear to faith? (Encouraging words from friends and family, hugs, etc.)
-There are many different ways to practice the resurrection as the women finally did. How can you and your family partner with God in the practice of resurrection?
Spend time talking in detail how you will undertake the practice of resurrection in your personal and family lives. Are your resurrection plans “pie in the sky” or things you can truly do? Are these one-time “dos” or potentially long-term?
Practicing Resurrection is just that—practicing. It means applying and using your beliefs to engage the world where the world needs it. The tasks you set out before you are just the beginning of practicing the resurrection in your daily lives