Gayle McJunkin was the scheduled speaker at semi-programmed meeting for worship on April 16, 2017.
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
On Easter morning, the group that followed Jesus was in mourning. They were grieving the loss of their friend. Our joy at the Easter time was not what the disciples felt—not on this early day. The death of Jesus was the change that made way for the transition that was the resurrection life of the church. During all those days of transition and uncertainty—the small band of followers stuck together; they consoled each other in the face of hardship and heartache.
Easter can be complicated for Quakers. We are not people of the sacrament—we are not remembering the death and resurrection through Communion. We are also not the people of the Book. Although I read from Mark — we do not rely on the Bible as our sole experience and revelation of the Divine.
We – like those early disciples—draw our consolation from the community. Peter Wehner, a New York Times writer describes the consolation of the community like this: “being part of a Christian community is people who walk alongside us as we journey through grief, not offering pieties but tenderness and grace, encouragement and empathy, and when necessary, practical help.” Believe me that practical help can make all the difference.
On this Easter celebration day we can remember that grief and death is real as it was for the followers of Jesus on the early morning on the first day of the week. But as surely as grief was present so did it make way for the transition that is the triumph of the Easter story. Wehner states: “I have seen enough of life to know that grief will leave its mark. But I have also seen enough of like to know that so, too, will Love.”
As we are open to the transformation of love let there be Easter blessings on us all.