And They Said Nothing to Anyone, for They Were Afraid [Sermon]

I recently read a story about pets.

A woman saw her dog had been out digging, and he came back to the house with something in its mouth. When she got the dog to release it, she found it was a rabbit. The rabbit was completely lifeless, but there was no blood. Just dirt. With horror she recognized the rabbit as one of the rabbits her neighbor’s children were breeding.

She could have gone to the neighbor and apologized.
She did not.

Instead, she cleaned up the rabbit and placed it in one of her neighbor’s rabbit cages and ran back to her home, hoping to not be discovered.

Let’s go to God in prayer.
God of wisdom, may the words that I speak, and the ways they are received by each of our hearts and minds, help us to continue to grow into the people, and the church, that you have dreamed us to be.

Put yourselves in first century Palestine.
Imagine you’re a follower of Jesus.
Imagine believing he is the anointed one,
in Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (mašíaḥ),
in Greek χριστός (chrīstós).

And you have seen miracles of healing, and heard transformational words.

And you have seen him arrested, and crucified, and now he is dead.

How do you feel?

You could be angry at what religious and political leaders did together.

You could be frightened that you may be next.

You could be sad at the loss of a leader, teacher, and friends.

You could be discouraged and feel there was no hope.

You could be numb because all that has happened is just too much.

This is where Jesus’ disciples were after the crucifixion on Friday, and all through the Sabbath, and on Sunday morning as these women headed to the tomb.

Even with all of these overwhelming emotions, on the morning after the Sabbath these women went to anoint the body of Jesus.

That’s an amazing amount of strength and courage.

That’s more strength and courage than the woman with the dog and the dead rabbit had. Rather than bravely confession to her neighbor that her dog had killed one of the prized bunnies, she tried to cover up what her dog had done.

Later, she heard her neighbors – adults and children – screaming. She knew the rabbit had been found.

She went to the neighbors and, sounding as innocent as she could, asked what was going on. The neighbor said

“One of our rabbits died a couple of days ago, and we buried it, but now it’s back in the cage.”

Imagine how terrifying that would be.

Now imagine these women in our reading today who have seen the most devastating of executions, not only for its brutality, but also because of who was executed.

They are already in the worst imaginable situation, and they arrive at the tomb,
and the stone was already moved away.

Courageously they enter the tomb and find a stranger, a young man. None of this is making sense, and none of this is making them any more comfortable.

And after the young man told them what to do, they fled in terror and amazement, and they said nothing to anyone.

Even the most courageous of us have our limits. There are times when we hold back, afraid of what might happen.

Might we endanger ourselves or others?

Might we do something wrong, or say the wrong thing?

Might we be disbelieved?

Might people think we had a demon, or were drunk with new wine, or otherwise unreliable witnesses?

We are human, and we are going to have times when we are unable to speak up. And there are times when we will be able to speak up, even if we are afraid.

We can speak up in defense of people who cannot speak for themselves

or who are not listened to

or who are not present when others are speaking poorly about them.

We can speak our understanding of scripture, even when it differs from how

others understand it.

We can’t always do it, and sometimes it is not even helpful to do it, but when we do, we bring light to the world.

So my Easter challenge is for us to dig a little deeper for courage in times when we should say or do the right thing, even though we are fearful of where it may lead.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *