He is Risen

Easter, March 31, 2024: Isaiah 25:6-9; Acts 10:34-43; Mark 16:1-8; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

The journey of Holy Week is intense. We walk with Jesus and his friends through triumph and despair. Thursday night and Friday, I find, are devastating. Watching the stripping of the altar, attending a service in a church empty of all its usual decorations, both provide a physical reminder of the terrible things that happened to Jesus. The gospel narratives are all in the third person, so we can only imagine what is in the minds of Jesus and of his followers.

What we do know is that after Jesus was crucified and buried, his followers were both frightened and grieving. They spent time with each other. This is what we do when we grieve: we try to surround ourselves with others.

Today’s gospel makes this clear: in Mark’s account, Mary Magadalen, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go together to annoint the body-to do the things they did not have time to do before the sabbath. They are doing what needs to be done, but they are not alone. And they are together when they are told the news of the resurrection, and told to give instructions to the others to go meet Jesus in Galilee.

We live in a society that is very focused on the individual. But when things are difficult, we need each other. We need community. We saw this in the hardest parts of the pandemic, when all sorts of groups of friends sought each other out for conversation and community: it may have been online, but it was necessary. The good thing about going through the hard times together is we can celebrate together.

So today, we celebrate.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

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