North Highland United Methodist Church
Friday, February 26, 2021
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors


We Didn’t Ask for Snow

at least I didn’t ask for it especially over the days when we were celebrating Easter! It’s quite
possible that the only persons excited to see Tuesday’s second snow dump were students who rejoiced upon learning their
school vacation had miraculously been extended another day. This unwanted, messy snow caused me to consider how many
life events come at unwanted times.

Yet, similar to this Easter snow that clouded our days and spirits, is the timing ever right
for illness, relationship strife, work-related struggles, stress, or any other life event that dumps on us? Those things that require us to reconcile both the event and the after-math? Imagine, then, those original disciples on that first Easter weekend. The last event they expected when celebrating Passover that spring was the arrest and death of their beloved teacher and companion. If that wasn’t enough, they then lived the days of fear, confusion, and doubt that followed the discovery of the empty tomb.

Each Gospel writer uniquely shares the story of these events and the resurrection. John’s account with Mary at the tomb will always be my favorite, and Mark’s resurrec-tion account will likely always both frustrate and intrigue me. His writing ends at 16:8 after the women discover the empty tomb and encounter a young man wearing a white robe. There is no earthquake as in Luke’s account, but nevertheless they are shaken to the core. The final verse reads: So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. All of your Bibles should carry two other endings added later by scribes, but Mark’s writing ends on that disappointing and confusing note.
In his recent book Easter Earthquake UMC pastor James Harnish wonders after years of feeling frustrated if this ending isn’t exactly what Mark fully intended us to hear:

“What if Mark is suggesting that there is something both amazing and frightening about knowing the risen Christ is not where we expect to find him, but is let loose in the world where nothing can stop him? What if Mark planned for every follower of the risen Christ to add his or her own chapter to the never ending story of God’s work in the world? What if Mark’s nonending is the call for us to get in on the action and become part of a story that never ends? Easter Earthquake pg 109

How will we go forward this Easter season after celebrating the empty tomb? Will we be inspired by the possibility of the risen Christ’s presence in the world both near and far? While the seemingly “never-ending snow” is less than joyful, what about the never-ending story of God’s work and our call to be a part of an ongoing story of hope and wholeness? Is that joyful and intriguing enough for us? Does this story of hope and new life inspire us to live anew in all things? May it be so as we take part in this adven-ture of living—even on the cloudy and difficult days. May it be so in our words and ac-tions in all places. May it be so expressed by our presence, generosity, kindness, and work here at our community of faith, North Highland UMC.

Wishing all the blessings and possibilities of the Easter season,

Pastor Lou

April 2018