Sermon for the Easter Vigil -- Year B

Sermon for the Easter Vigil -- Year B

Apr 03, 2021

Passage:Mark 16:1-8

Preacher: The Rev. Jo Roberts Craig

Series: Easter


The Great Vigil of Easter

Year B



It was the Day of Preparation for the Holy Day …And burial must occur prior to sunset on the Sabbath…


And the evening is quickly approaching as Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus


Mark tells us that Joseph himself was one of those who had been expectantly waiting for the Kingdom of God…


And with great haste, he removed Jesus’ body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth…


Because sundown was quickly approaching there was no time to anoint the body…


Knowing that there were threats that the body might be stolen, Joseph has a large stone rolled into the entrance of the cave where Jesus was laid…


It is now early morning on the day after the Sabbath…the morning dawns beautifully…


In that desert environment, sunrise is often spectacular…There are beautiful, brilliant colors on the horizon


The air is fresh with the dew from the night and the only sounds are those of an earth awakening


The women, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the Mother of James, and Salome awake very early


The Sabbath has been heartbreaking! Jesus is dead; the horror of the stories that Peter told about the evening in the garden, the arrest, the courtyard scene


And no one had to tell these women of the crucifixion…they were there and so the stories of Peter and the death of Jesus, and the fatigue show on their faces


The pain and disappointment…the loss…the fear of what was to come was apparent in their gait as they walked toward the tomb


Dressing a body for burial was something they had learned at their Mother’s knee, but they dreaded to see the body of the one that they loved that had been tortured…


Their conversation was exactly as one might expect…without the men, how would they roll away the stone to the entrance of the burial cave


But the stone had been moved; the angel waited for them and as he gave them instructions about where Jesus had gone and what the disciples were to do…


Into that deep hole of despair, there is a glimmer of light…it is just a faint glimmer at first and then as the angel speaks, it grows into that soft light of love …that glimmer of understanding


And although it is impossible to describe, the women enter into that thin space between heaven and earth


That thin space that cannot be captured or seen, but is present as surely as the human body is present


And God in God’s wisdom, allows one to see the kingdom of God


Heaven and earth are joined and the reality of possibility once again enters into the hearts and minds of these faithful women


God has acted…And the action results in freedom and love…




We are told from the very beginning of our walk as Christians that the Christ is the voice; the Word of creation; the giver of the gift of salvation


That God in Jesus is the One who brings us redemption, forgiveness, and life


But then we stand at the foot of our own cross and the horror of sin and death erase everything


Everything we knew; everything we know


It is not the cross on Golgotha, it is our own cross of disappointment, of failure, of death, of enormous loss, of pain…


Our Easter is but a wisp of memory. Deep inside, even the thought of Easter is insulting


But God is not finished with us and somehow, in our fatigue, in our failure as we struggle to walk to the tomb of our disappointments, the God of Creation pulls us, if we allow, into the thin space


We have the opportunity to experience in a myriad of possible ways the joining of heaven and earth


We, like the women at the tomb, have the opportunity to understand and experience that we are not alone


That the angel of life is sending us to our Galilee to meet the one who is the creator …who is salvation.


Alleluia! Christ is Risen!