Easter Sunrise Meditation, Mark 16:1-8
A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing off the only way in or out. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, and the surprise of Easter morning, she asked: “And what do you think were Jesus’ first words when he came bursting out of that tomb alive?” A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. It belonged to a most excited little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly, “I know, I know, I know.”
“Good,” said the teacher, “Tell us.” Extending her arms high in the air she sang out: “TA-DA!’”
The Bible does not record the first words of Jesus as “Ta-Da!” In fact, in our reading of the gospels, there is no mention of Jesus saying anything. But I think we could definitely describe the power of Christ’s resurrection as a “Ta-Da!” moment.
Mark’s gospel, the earliest one written, ends abruptly – the two Marys visit the empty tomb where Jesus’ crucified body was hastily laid. There are no post-resurrection appearances. No one sees Jesus. Jesus gives his disciples no directions or commands other than that they are to go to Galilee – – that he has gone on ahead and will meet them there. The women say nothing to anyone. End of story.
The other gospel writers find this abrupt ending intolerable. Matthew has the disciples meeting up with Jesus and worshipping him. Jesus commissions them to go into all the world to baptize and to make disciples. Luke has two of the disciples walking along the road to Emmaus, conferring with a stranger, who later turns out to be Jesus. John has Jesus serving breakfast to the disciples on the lakeshore – and forgiving Peter for his great denial.
But Mark’s story leaves us, standing together in the early dawn, astounded that the tomb is empty. I wonder, what would we do if Mark’s was the only gospel — and all that was given to us was the promise that Jesus had gone on ahead of us. Is the rest of the story up to the point of the crucifixion compelling enough that we might commit our lives to following the way of Jesus? Would the message of Jesus be enough to change our lives — powerful enough to call us to something higher?
I think of the story of that little girl who claimed that Jesus’ first word out of the tomb was “Ta-Da.” Yes! Regardless of what we may believe or not believe about the resurrection, for people of faith, it has become a “Ta-Da” moment for each of us. As Easter people, our job is not to argue the evidence for a resurrection that may have occurred long ago…Our job is not to debate the evidence or to weigh the pros and the cons.
Our task is to help one another become the evidence for resurrection…today…in our time and in our world. Our task is to become the evidence for the truth of resurrection in our own lives — to become truth-tellers in the power of “Ta-Da” moments. We may not understand them, but we have experienced them. As people of faith, morning has broken into our lives. The sun is rising. Christ enters our world and heals and restores wounded relationships. Christ comes with a message of hope for everyone regardless of race, gender class or any other human-created category. Christ breaks into our world to end the violence and isolation, to liberate our bodies and our spirits…to restore the presence of love and fan that spark within each one of us. How else can you describe the magic of Christ’s resurrection except “Ta-Da”!
Mark’s story is a call to faith. We don’t always get the vivid and clear signs we need along our life path. We are often left astounded with an unfinished story.
That is because WE are left to continue the story. Mark calls us to not only meet Jesus in Galilee but to walk with him each and every day of our lives. We are called to be the spirit of life and love and resurrection to the world. And the promise of Easter is that WE are not alone! Yes, the tomb is empty, but “Ta-Da!”, the magic awaits us.
Let us Pray,
Spirit of Life and of Love. Mystery of new life growing out of the earth. Promise of new life growing in our lives. Help us remember, on this Easter morning, that we are loved…just as we are…but also as we may become. Help us open your eyes to see all those around us as lovable too…just as they are. Help us to become truth-tellers of the “Ta-Da” moments of our lives — to be the evidence of resurrection to everyone we meet.
Let this day…this day of days…be the day when we accept the promise we have been given…
That resurrection can be real. That new life can become the truth of our lives. That the Spirit of Life and of Love has come to renew us — and work its “Ta-Da” magic in our hearts. A-men