In the last four weeks, I’ve been talking with Christians across the United States, from Virginia in the east, to California in the west; and from Minnesota in the north, to Florida in the south. I’ve listened to pastors, conference ministers, therapists, and spiritual directors. All of them are asking the same underlying question: what does resurrection look like for us right now? These people know that we are not celebrating Easter with carry-in breakfasts, with colorful flowers festooning the sanctuary, or with loud congregational singing. Today, Easter Sunday, our sanctuaries are largely empty and silent. What happens on Easter when the people of God are widely dispersed?
It so happens that the first Easter felt a lot like today’s Easter. There are at least three common themes.
On the first Easter, the followers of Jesus were afraid. Mark 16 is very clear about this. Mary, Salome, and Mary Magdalene were alarmed, terrified, and afraid. The story doesn’t say why they were scared, but we can guess they were scared the Romans would crucify them too. These three women had seen Jesus die a slow, painful death. They knew how awful it was to die that way, and they didn’t want to be the next ones hanging on a cross.
- Mark 16:1 - 8