by Rev. Susan Brecht
THE WORD Mark 16:1-8
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Reader: No, (pointing to the scripture he has been reading) It says here
you were to find him in Galilee.
Salome: Yes, but it’s a long walk. Have you seen him? He’s not the real one. He just pretends to be once in a while. Have you seen him? He’s been gone for days now. The young man in white said he had risen, but where did he rise to? Is he up there?
Congregant: No, he’s not up here!
Mary: Salome, what are you doing?
Salome: Mary, there you are! I’m looking for Jesus. Remember when we went to the tomb, and he wasn’t there, and the young man in white told us we’d find him in Galilee. I was just too exhausted to walk that far.
Mary: Salome, I think all of this has affected your memory. I went to the tomb alone.
Salome: No, it was you and the other Mary, James’s mother, and me. Remember, we were all so afraid, we ran away and didn’t tell anyone. At least I didn’t.
Mary: I’m sorry Salome. It’s been a horrible few days. You’re confused. I went alone and when he wasn’t in the tomb, I ran and got Peter and another disciple, and they looked in too. But they just left and went home. I couldn’t believe it! Men! So I looked in again, and there were two angels sitting where Jesus should have been. I heard someone behind me, and turned, and saw Jesus, only I didn’t recognize him.
Salome: How could you not recognize Jesus?
Mary: I thought he was the gardener.
Salome: The gardener!
Mary: I know, I know. It’s embarrassing. I even asked him where he put the body.
Salome: How did you know it was Jesus if he was impersonating a gardener?
Mary: He spoke my name. He told me to tell the other disciples that
he had to ascend to his Father. Now, how does he do that?
Salome: I haven’t the foggiest idea.
Mary: Talk to Peter. He and some of the others went to Galilee fishing.
How could they at a time like this?
Salome: Now I have two men to find.
Peter: Salome, what are you doing?
Salome: That was easy. Peter! I’m looking for Jesus. Have you seen him?
Peter: More than once. He walked right through a closed door to the
room we were hiding out in. Didn’t recognize him at first.
Salome: That sounds familiar. Did he look like a gardener?
Peter: No, that was Mary. Thomas didn’t believe it was Jesus either, but, better to ask him about that.
Salome: Did you see him in Galilee like the young man in white told us?
Peter: Yeah, we had a fish fry.
Salome: I knew it! See Mary, I’m not crazy.
Peter: Didn’t recognize him at first.
Salome: Did he look like…? Never mind.
Peter: We had been out in the boat all night - nothing to show for it.Then at daybreak this guy on the shore told us to cast our nets on the other side. OK, why not? Unbelievable! So many fish we had trouble pulling them all in. And that’s when that disciple who claimed Jesus loved him best recognized the Lord.
Salome: Do I hear a little envy in your voice, Peter? Jealous that you didn’t recognized him first?
Peter: Nonsense. I’m still the Rock. We didn’t dare ask who he was, but we knew. He had some fish on the fire, and bread, and invited us to breakfast. Just like old times.
Salome: I wish I had gone to Galilee. Maybe I would have seen him too.
Peter: But then the strangest thing happened. Three times he asked me if I loved him.
Salome: Peter, are you forgetting something? Three - three times. What did you do three times?
Peter: Did you have to bring that up? That’s past history. I’d rather not remember. Then he kept going on about feeding his lambs,tending his sheep, feeding his sheep. I’m a fisherman! I don’t care for those woolly things.
Salome: People, Peter! People! Get it? Take care of them. You were always a little dense.
Peter: I beg your pardon?! Just wait, you’ll see.
Julia: Hey, Salome!
Salome: Julia! (to Peter) Gotta go.
Julia: Salome, what are you doing?
Salome: Looking for Jesus. Have you seen him?
Julia: Yeah. Cleopas and I saw him.
Julia: On the road to Emmaus.
Salome: I’m always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Julia: We didn’t recognize him at first.
Salome: Here we go again. Why didn’t you recognize him at first?
Julia: I don’t know. We were talking about him and then he came up behind us…
Salome: And you didn’t recognize him?
Julia: Well, no. We were talking about his death and we weren’t expecting to see him.
Salome: You expected him to be dead, then?
Julia: Well, yes. He was dead.
Salome: Did this man you didn’t know was Jesus talk to you?
Julia: He did. He started asking us what we were talking about as we were walking along. And I said “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what has happened here lately?” Come on, everyone knows. Then he started to explain things to us. As we got closer to the village, he started walking off. But we were hungry, so we asked him to stop and eat with us, and he did!
Salome: Is this when you recognized him?
Julia: Well, no, not quite yet. It was when I went to serve bread to him and he took it and broke it. That’s when we recognized him.
Salome: And then what happened?
Julia: He disappeared. Just like that!
Salome: What do you mean, he disappeared?
Julia: Poof! Just like that!
Salome: Why do you think he would do that?
Julia: I don’t know. Maybe it was because we didn’t need to see him anymore. It’s up to us now.
Salome: What do you mean by that?
Julia: It’s hard to explain. We’ve been talking about this for over 24 hours now. He was with us when we walked along the road and he opened up the scriptures for us. Even though we didn’t recognize him, his presence made us feel like we were on fire. But it wasn’t until we invited him in, until we shared our food with him, that we recognized him in our midst.
Salome: So, what are you doing now?
Julia : Spreading the news. We experienced the risen Christ that day. He’s everywhere! Look around. Who needs to be invited in?
Salome: Thank you Julia. I needed to hear that. Now I have to find Thomas.
Thomas: Hey Salome! Peter said you were looking for Jesus.
Salome: Doubting Thomas! There you are!
Thomas: Don’t call me that!
Salome: Touchy, touchy! Everyone else is. Peter told me you didn’t believe Jesus had appeared to them.
Thomas: Would you?
Salome: Good question.
Thomas: He died. We all knew that. We were hiding out. Who knows, we might be next. And then they told me he walked through a locked door! - come on, really?! And then he showed them his hands and side, and I thought they had really lost it. Fear can do that, you know. I just needed some empirical evidence, that’s all.
Thomas: He walked through that locked door again. He breathed on me like he had done to the others. (makes a face)
Salome: A little ripe?
Thomas: Yeah. And he made me put my hand in his side. It was grouse, but I did it.
Salome: And you believed.
Thomas: Yes, I believed. And then he said something I’ll never forget: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Salome: That’s me, isn’t it? And all these others who say they haven’t seen Jesus. Thanks Thomas. You’ve given me lots to think about.
They didn’t recognize him, and they knew him the best. Where does that leave the rest of us? We’ve all been looking for the Jesus we thought we knew. But he’s no longer confined to that body we recognized. He’s everywhere. We just have to open our eyes, and hearts too, to see where he’ll show up next.
Maybe he’s right here with us, calling us by name like he did Mary, only we’re not listening. Maybe he’s instructing us, like he did Peter, to continue the work of building the kingdom. Maybe he’ll show up when we feed someone in need like Julia and Cleopas did. We just have to invite them in.
We have to let go of a part of Jesus, so that he can be with all of us for all of time. Maybe it’s by believing, like Thomas, that we finally recognize Jesus in our own lives. Wow, that’s a lot to think about.