Dear Family and Friends at Trinity,


   Mark’s gospel begins the account of the resurrection of Jesus this way: “Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just past sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

 While all four gospels speak of that early morning journey of the women to the tomb, only Mark tells us about the quandary posed by the women. Yet all four gospels record the answer.  Matthew says “Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For the angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it!”  Isn’t that the greatest image ever? The angel sat on it-that stone was going no where, ever again. The angel sat on it! Victory and defiance to the ways and worries of the earth in that one action.  Mark’s gospel does not mention the angel sitting on the stone but rather simply says, “But as the women arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside”.  Luke’s account is even more simple. “The women found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance…” and John speaks only of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb and says, “Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone has been rolled away from the entrance.”.  One gospel raised the question, “Who will roll away the stone?”  All four gospels give us the answer, “Problem solved. God had dealt with it. The stone had been rolled away.”

  Many years ago it was my privilege to teach at a women’s conference. The topic? What are the stones in our own lives that keep us shut-down, locked away, prisoners to past events and fears, and that prevent us from living the full life God had intended for us. Remember the promise recorded in John’s gospel?  “Jesus said, ‘I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly”.

   As part of the workshop, the women were each invited to find a stone-it was South Dakota-stones of all sizes and shapes were easy to find-any stone they liked.  Then using a power drill, each one, in turn, drilled a hole in their stone, strung it on a piece of colored ribbon (the color was to reflect a specific feeling) and for the remainder of the conference, they were to wear their stone necklace. When asked about this piece of new, fine jewelry, they were to answer, “This represents the stone in my life that was rolled away by the very power, grace, and love of God through Jesus Christ”…or words like that.

   This Easter season, I invite you to imagine doing a similar thing. (or go out and find a stone-I still have the drill!). and ask yourself the question:

   Who will roll away the stone of grief that clouds my life with sadness and loss?  God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone of loneliness that leaves me broken hearted?  God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone of disappointment or  the sense of failure that keeps me from trying something new, in a new way? God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone of illness and disease that keeps me weak?  God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone of self condemnation and guilt? God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone that keeps me from seeing God’s blessings and richness in my life and prevents me from singing joyful songs of praise?  God can, in Jesus Christ!

   Who will roll away the stone….? God can, in Jesus Christ!

  One of the things I find most interesting about these gospel accounts regarding the women and their worry is ths. The problem had been solved BEFORE the question and concern were even raised. Could it be that simple for all of us? God, in Jesus Christ, has solved the problem, even before we ask. Is God waiting to surprise us with a solution even before we surrender our concerns and worries and doubts and fears to Him?

  It is something to think about, and pray about, and trust for, in this season of hope, and joy, and new life isn’t it?

  There is an old hymn in my tradition, “rolled away, rolled away, rolled away, every burden of my heart rolled away”.  May that be your song in the days to come.  ALLELUIA AND AMEN.   pjr






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