Vol. 14, Iss. 1
Glory in Galilee Easter 2015
The Rev. Peter J. Miano
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15: 51-58
Gospel: Mark 16: 1-8
For a guy who spent time as he did in Massachusetts, it is hard to believe that Henry David Thoreau once said, "Springtime is an exercise in immortality". I would say this infant springtime is more an exercise in frustration than in immortality. The signs of new life are few and fleeting. The temperatures are still dipping well below freezing. The crocuses are finally peaking through the frozen earth, but they seem reluctant to do so and the ponds are still frozen. Winter is slow to loosen its icy grip. And even though we know that the thunderous beauty of Spring is just around the corner, the corner still seems way down the block. Where are nature's reminders of new life? And, while we are thinking of it, where do we see the signs of Easter promise in this world seemingly stuck in Good Friday gloom?
For far too many, the proof of the inevitability of Easter resurrection is as hard to find as the signs of this waxing young season are here in Massachusetts. Many remain unconvinced, mired in doubt and cynicism, caught in a slack tide of faith, wanting and waiting for some convincing sign, some proof that Christ's victory over death is more than some pious fiction.
But the search for signs leads many in the wrong direction. The other day, I happened to find a decorated (and petrified) Easter egg tucked away in a drawer. No one found it last Easter, because they didn't look in the right place. Just the same, on the first Easter Sunday, those who went to the tomb of Jesus did not find what they were looking for. They, too, were looking in the wrong place.
Take careful note that Mark's Gospel-the very first Gospel to tell the Easter story-does not end with bells pealing and choirs singing and trumpets sounding. There is a striking absence of signs and wonders in Mark's report-which, by the way, ends at verse 8, not verse 20-of the first Easter Sunday morning. Forget about trumpets and alleluias and choirs. Unlike other Gospel writers, Mark makes no mention of an earthquake. There is no lightening. There is not even a respectable angel of the Lord standing by. There is only a young man who delivers a cryptic message: "He goes before you into Galilee and that is where you will find him, just as he told you." And nobody got it. There was only fear and amazement. Nobody said a word to anyone.
Yet, as the predawn darkness gave way to the light of day, so the grief stricken women began to see the light of the Easter truth. The darkness of Good Friday had not prevailed. Death did not have the last word and the proof was that they would see the risen Lord for themselves. All they had to do was to go to Galilee.
The search for a sign of Jesus' power and majesty was not a new thing. During his earthly ministry, the people in the crowds pleaded for some authoritative sign. They wanted to be dazzled. But this would-be savior from Galilee just wouldn't deliver. When the Pharisees demanded a sign, Jesus said, "No sign will be given, except the sign of Jonah." (Mt. 12:39) Just so, some people today seek confirmation of faith by waiting for signs that never come. So, they are frustrated, looking for proof in the wrong places.
Where then do we, the Easter people, find proof of the resurrection? Where do we meet the resurrected Lord? Exactly where he said he would be. Not on a gilded throne surrounded by cherubim and seraphim. Not in dazzling wonders. Not in the clouds of heaven, but in the clamor of everyday human life. In Galilee. Just as he told you. "Go and tell the others that he goes before you into Galilee. There you will find him, just as he told you".
As the shadows of fear and death gave way to the light of the first Easter morning, the truth slowly dawned. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! And all the love and compassion that was betrayed and deserted, scourged and spat upon, beaten, stretched out and nailed mercilessly to a cross on Good Friday, all that goodness and beauty is alive again and with us now. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! He is alive and with us and we see him, not in signs and wonders, but in Galilee, just as he said.
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Glory in Galilee, cont'd
then do we, the Easter people, find proof of the resurrection? Exactly where
he said he would be....in the clamor of everyday human life. In Galilee.