Easter, 2024

Wise the preacher who starts early on his sermon this week. By the time Maundy Thursday and Good Friday roll around, exhaustion sets in and the creative juices might be a little thin. Yet, this Sunday will likely be one of the better attended Sundays of the whole year for your parish. You will want it to be polished and your best.

Fortunately for us, the message is really good even if well worn. The women flee the tomb and tell no one because they are afraid. I believe Mark gives us that ending of the Gospel as a challenge to his first and twenty-first century hearers. Yes, there are good reasons to be afraid. The women certainly had them too. Strange men in very bright clothes, brutal state executions, and vindictive authorities were reason aplenty to flee that space. They were coming early in the morning, perhaps to be timely with the preparation of a body but also perhaps to avoid too much attention.

But they must have said something. Indeed, the other Gospels tell us that they did go and tell the Apostles eventually, though, perhaps their fears were well-founded after all. The disciples discounted them as the tales of foolish women (Lk. 24:11). What well-founded fears keep us silent? Is the likely truth that people will laugh at us if we confess that we believe Jesus has risen from the dead and that changes everything, that death is undone? Is it because we might lose our job if we say it at work or get passed over for a promotion? Is it because our neighbors won’t want to talk to us anymore. Is it just because we are afraid of looking foolish? The preacher this Easter will want to ask what fears silence us.

The women did eventually speak. We too, by confessing this risen Christ speak. Those disciples who huddled in upper rooms for fear of the Jews were given a Spirit of bold witness who replaced their fear with God’s holy love.

Scroll to Top