Sermons 2009

He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Easter B 2009                                                          Mark 16:1-8


Unlike the Easter story in the other gospels Saint Mark leaves us unsettled.  That’s it? we ask.  That’s all?  Where is the resurrected Jesus?  Where is the Risen Christ?  No resurrection appearances to reassure us? No ascension scene?

Consider Saint Mark’s Gospel as a whole.  It starts abruptly with this announcement:  “The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”  And immediately – a phrase found often in Mark – the adult Jesus appears on the scene at his Baptism, is driven into the wilderness, chooses his disciples, and heals a leper – all in Chapter 1.  And that same pace continues throughout the Gospel according to Saint Mark.   And the conclusion is no different.   Three women come to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body with spices and find the stone rolled away, a young man sitting inside.  He tells them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised; he is not here.

And with that Saint Mark’s Gospel has come full circle:  This IS the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  He is not here; He is risen. 

But the women flee from the tomb, they run away overcome by terror and amazement.  They are so frightened that they do not tell anyone what they have seen and heard.  And that’s the end of Saint Mark’s story, as abrupt as its beginning.

It’s hard for us to understand, this real Easter, this first Resurrection morning.  Why are the woman terrified and running away, fleeing as fast as they can.  After all there doesn’t seem to be much comfort in Saint Mark’s Easter, no fuzzy soft Easter bunnies, no brightly colored eggs for little children to hunt, no chocolate rabbits to delight our palates.  Saint Mark’s Easter is altogether too adult a story, no resplendent Jesus whom Mary Magdalene could not recognize at first, no at first unknown stranger on the Road to Emmaus, no Jesus cooking breakfast on the lake shore for his fisherman disciples.  Above all there is no scene of glorious ascension, no last Great commandment to go into all the world, at least not in the oldest manuscripts.

Only a strange young man saying “you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised; he is not here….tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”

Saint Mark whose gospel is the earliest and closest to the time of Jesus on earth may have known of the uncertain and timid steps of the disciples until the glorious day of Pentecost when the disciples, gathered together in one room in Jerusalem, were baptized and commissioned by the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit.  Then the fear and trembling ceased; then the disciples set forth to preach the good news of the empty tomb, to build churches across the world.  Then they went to Galilee.

Galilee was the place they lived and worked, the place where they had first met Jesus, the road through Galilee they had walked with Jesus on the long journey to Jerusalem, Galilee the place of miracle upon miracle, the place where they could feel his presence most strongly.  It was in Galilee that they began to understand the good news of the empty tomb and thenspread it everywhere. 

Galilee is everywhere.  We live in Galilee, this Northern Neck, surrounded by the familiar things of this lovely land.  In our Galilee is where this church stands, reaching out to the poor, where the good news is spoken, where community thrives.  This is our Galilee, this Northern Neck where we make our homes, where we live and work and play. 

The Good News that Saint Mark brings is that the Lord who loves us meets us in our Galilee where he has gone before us and where he awaits us with arms outstretched.

            A wise man once wrote something like this:  “If Easter says anything at all to us it is that Jesus will always be with us.  The pyramids of Egypt are famous because they contained the mummified bodies of ancient Egyptian kings.  Westminster Abbey in London is renowned, because in it rests the bodies of English nobles and notables.  Mohammed's tomb is noted for the stone coffin and the bones it contains.  George Washington’s tomb is at Mount Vernon.   Arlington cemetery in Washington, D.C., is revered, as the honored resting place of many outstanding Americans.  But the Garden Tomb of Jesus is famous because it is empty!”  (1)


            And in closing, the Lord of the Dance:

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.

I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
But they would not dance and they would not follow me;
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John;
They came to me and the dance went on.

I danced on the sabbath when I cured the lame,
The holy people said it was a shame;
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high;
And they left me there on a cross to die.

I danced on a Friday and the sky turned black;
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back;
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
But I am the dance and I still go on.

They cut me down and I leapt up high,
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.  (2)





1.  Adapted from Don Emmitte, “Famous Because It Is Empty!” eSermons Illustrations for Easter B 2009

 2.  Adapted from “Lord of the Dance” arranged 1963 by Sydney B. Carter, copyright Hope Publishing Company,, permission applied for.