John 20: 1-18

Easter A Grateful Series

April 12, 2020

Lincoln Street UMC, Portland, Oregon

Elizabeth Winslea

This year, what I hear so clearly in this story is what the disciples see and don’t see. There is a lot of running around, shouting and hollering, crying and wondering – as each character tries to make sense of what their eyes are seeing.


The old adage – you have to see it to believe it – just isn’t ringing true here, is it? For indeed, the disciples are seeing signs of the resurrection, but are not believing it.


They are living in a world of chaos and upheaval. While we celebrate their story of resurrection encounters as the end of the narrative, for them it was smack dab in the middle of the confusion and uncertainty. They had been hiding all weekend, sneaking around by dark and heading to the burial tomb at the first break of day in order not to be seen by others. Theirs was an experience of uncertainty, sorrow and fear. They did not yet understand the wonder of new life that hung out there before them.


Sound familiar? In many ways, we too are people stuck in the middle of our story. The confusion and chaos of death and uncertainty still fills every headline, conversation and night time worry. We too perhaps have a hard time knowing what new life might look like for us.


But what I appreciate here in the gospel of John is that they kept running toward new life. Mary headed out to the tomb even though it was dangerous. Peter ran after her when she shared her news. Mary continued to stick around the garden, trying to sort out what this means.


And in each case, these disciples were given clearer and clearer vision.


We may not feel like we are able to fully celebrate resurrection this year, as we worry about a loved one’s health, as we watch the death toll climb. It’s been a long dark night – and it feels like the night is not over. But friends, this story teaches us to continue to look for the light of a clear blue morning. Because we are people of the resurrection story, we inherit the mandate in fact, to continue to search for and point out where God is, where we encounter new life, unexpected love, the outpouring of creation. To keep running toward new life.


So, what can you see, friends? Can you see the light of a clear blue morning?

This sermon was written by Elizabeth Winslea and delivered on April 12, 2020, via Zoom to the Lincoln Street United Methodist Church. It is published here with the permission of the author. Please link back to this post and credit the author if you reprint or use any portion of it.