Sunday, April 05, 2015

Who Will Roll the Stone Away?

   When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?' When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, 'Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.' 
Mark 16:1-7 (NRSV)

We can only imagine the depth of grief that the women were feeling as they walked to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with spices. What enormous grief they must have felt and yet they were compelled to perform this duty for Jesus much like the many other care-taking duties they had performed when he was living. The women had most likely been the ones who had cooked and cared for the daily needs of the disciples and perhaps focusing on a “task” would help their grieving.

Mark tells us that they have started out very early as the sun was just rising. And as they walk, they are wondering about the large stone placed in front of the tomb. How will they get the tomb open?

Who Will Roll the Stone Away?

This was a HUGE heavy stone that took a few men to move. My question is if they knew the stone was there, why didn't they bring someone with them?  Why didn't they bring any help?

 Yet, when they arrive, the stone was already rolled away! The obstacle that they thought would keep them from reaching Jesus has already been removed.

Who will roll the stone away?

That question didn't even need to be asked because it had already been accomplished. As I was reflecting on that question Who will roll the stone away? I realized how many other questions we ask that don't matter. How many things do we worry about that aren't really worries at all? My father would say, “Don't borrow trouble.” By that, he meant, “don't worry needlessly.”

The women were worrying about a situation about which in the end they didn't need to worry.  However, in this case, it was a practical concern and they had no way of knowing what they would find when they reached the tomb. It was a legitimate concern....

Who will roll the stone away?

But, what if... 
what if that concern had kept them away from the tomb?What if their worry over not being able to move the stone had kept them from even going?

Sometimes the worries and concerns in our lives seem overwhelming and sometimes there are practical questions that nag at us and worry us. There are stones in our own lives that need to be rolled away.  But, if we allow ourselves to be controlled by the worry, we might miss the opportunity for joy.

Today-this celebration of Easter is about Hope! The Resurrection of Jesus is about Hope not worry!  It’s about Joy, not fear!

As fearful and worried as those women were, they went to the tomb anyway. They went knowing their grief might only be deepened by what they would find there
They went to the Tomb-- a place that certainly would hold great sadness and instead, they found hope.

Easter is about Hope not fear!

When I think of the situations that bring us grief or which induce fear in us, I wonder, if we are borrowing trouble? Where are the stones in your life that need to be rolled away? Where are the places of sadness and grief that make you want to stick your head in the sand? Where have you let fear control your life?

What stone needs rolled away?

The women wouldn't have been able to roll the stone. It would have taken a few men to do this! But, God had already done it. The passive voice is used : the stone was rolled away. That means that “someone” had performed the action of “rolling it away." 

Who had done that? God had! 
Just as God had raised Jesus from the dead!

The stone was a barrier into the tomb but, when it was removed, Hope was made real and new life was gained by all! Resurrection happened!

On this Easter Morning, as we celebrate Resurrection and new Life and Hope, what stone needs rolled away in your life?

I invited you to offer whatever that stone is in your life to God. Might you know that it is through Christ that all the stones in our lives are rolled away and that all the fears and worries as overwhelming as they seem, can be rolled away by the One who raised Jesus to new life and offers that same new life and hope to us.

May you choose to live out of that hope rather than fear.

Who will roll the stone away?
God has already done it!

Praise be to God!

Christ is Risen!

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