Rolling Away the Stones


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window): 
Psalms 97; 145, Exodus 12:14-27, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Mark 16:1-8

When Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James visited the tomb of Jesus, they found the stone rolled aside and the tomb empty, nothing but a shroud left behind. A young man in a white robe told them Jesus had already gone ahead to Galilee.

If we open ourselves to God’s love and forgiveness, resurrection is a process as native as breathing. We can see it at work in addictions recovery, mended relationships, and lives rebuilt after disaster or tragedy. The difference between surviving and thriving is our daily willingness to embrace the possibility of resurrection – of an entirely new life in God’s love.

The stones that entomb us – grudges, disappointments, anger, bitterness, hate – can seem difficult or impossible to roll away. What if they only seem heavy because we refuse to let go of them? A light stone, if held long enough, becomes a tiresome burden. The most difficult roadblock to resurrection can be our unwillingness to simply let go of burdens we have clung to because their weight anchors us to a familiar place. Change – even good change – is something we tend to resist. Resurrection is a hand open to possibility, and you can’t open your hand while holding on to something else.

On a mission trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana we were helping repair the damage done by Hurricane Rita. Miz Stanley’s home was scheduled for light repairs, but once there we learned the trauma of the storm and the death of her husband had driven the elderly owner to develop a hoarding compulsion. The hoarding and accompanying health hazards had estranged her from her children and grandchildren. One woman in our group had experience helping people transition from independent to assisted living, and knew how to coach someone to let go of possessions. Talk about resurrection! Over the course of a week we cleared out an entire floor of her house, and Miz Stanley continued to progress long after we left. Her relationship with her family was renewed, all because she literally let go of the old. The same possibility exists for all of us.

Comfort: The possibility of resurrection is always within arm’s length.

Challenge: When you pray this week, pray with your arms outstretched.

Prayer: Merciful and loving God, I am open to all the possibilities you offer!

Discussion: What stones do you refuse to let roll away from you?

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