The text of the sermon delivered by Rev. Kirk Moore at the Easter Sunrise Service at Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Somonauk, IL on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011.
This morning’s Bible reading is from John 20:1-18
Overcome with emotion.
It happens at the worst possible times.
- Scary situations
- Situations fraught with anger
- Touching moments
- Painful injuries
- Sad times
- Happy times
- Unexplainable times
I get overcome with emotion and I start to “well up.” Sometimes it’s in a public forum. Other times it is while I’m watching TV or reading a book.
Sometimes I can swallow deeply and suppress the tears that are about to flow. I know why I do that. I don’t like to feel out of control. I’m sure I’ve heard enough times in my life that ‘real men don’t cry.’
That’s a crock, by the way.
When I don’t try to hold it in; when I don’t try to suppress the tears – it is a marvelous, refreshing thing. If I can get past the embarrassment or uncomfortable feelings I have about crying – it is a marvelous, refreshing thing. I’m not saying that I’m successful much. I’m not saying that I’ll ever get better at it. But when I don’t try to suppress the tears – it is a marvelous, refreshing thing.
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early on the first day of the week. It was still dark outside. She discovered that the stone had been rolled away.
She ran and told Peter and John that Jesus was gone – and she didn’t know where his body was.
Peter and John ran to the empty tomb. They saw, believed, didn’t understand exactly what had happened, and then went back to their homes.
Mary didn’t leave. She just stood there, weeping.
I know that two angels came and asked her why she was weeping. I know that at some point in the conversation with them she realized that she was talking to Jesus and that he was alive!
And I am sure that Mary still stood weeping.
I’ve tried in the past to put, somehow, into words, the emotions that Mary was feeling on that first Easter morning. She stood weeping:
I’m weeping because Jesus is dead and I don’t know where they took his body and it’s gone and Peter and John just came and looked and then they left and I’m confused and angry and lost. . ”
And even after she noticed that Jesus was there – with her.
I’m weeping because you weren’t here and now you’re here. I’m weeping because I’m thrilled and I’m confused and I’m angry and I’m grateful and I’m shaking and this is just too much! It’s really you! You’re alive!
Jesus is alive. He is risen. Today we celebrate. Today we rejoice. Today we play.
Lots of emotions run through Easter. Every one of them is a legitimate reaction to this powerful, extraordinary day.
But Mary stood weeping.