games and television is all the rage. The audience call or text
their vote and a decision is made. The audience decides the outcome
of the final episodes. I am not sure if I like it. Such decisions
put in my hands -- like the show American Idol -- where the people
with talent have this great opportunity to begin a great music career.
That is where
we find the Gospel of Mark today. Mark’s resurrection story
is different from the other three Gospels. The other three Gospels
continue the story but the Gospel of Mark ends abruptly. We might
call it kind of weird ending.
In fact, the
ending was so weird that other early Christians were uncomfortable
enough with it that they penned another ending to the Gospel. While
Mark 16:9-20 are in our Bibles, there is no shortage of footnotes
to tell us that the earliest manuscripts of Mark don’t include
them. Mark didn’t write this longer ending.
interactive story in the Bible. It's Mark's account of Jesus' resurrection
-- It's very possible that Mark intentionally wrote it to be interactive.
Maybe Mark is
telling us the truth in the matter. Maybe he leaves it without an
end because he is telling us that we the continuation of the Easter
story. That each day we out the Easter story -- proclaiming in our
lives -- the continuation of the power of God in the world.
The gospel is
open-ended precisely because God's redemptive and restorative activity
The three women come to the tomb and the angel tells them that Christ
is resurrected and he will meet them in Galilee.
Christ is gone
-- it is no wonder terror and amazement seized them. Christ is resurrected
-- He is gone --
But where did
SAYS IT LIKE THIS -- CHRIST IS ON THE LOOSE
A soldier wrote recently to Reader’s Digest to tell about
an incident that took place on Easter Sunday in the chapel on their
military base. The pastor called the children to the front and told
them the story of how Jesus was crucified by the Romans, his body
placed in a tomb, and the front covered by a stone.
the third day,” the pastor said, “the stone was rolled
away, and Jesus was not there.” Then the pastor turned to
the children and asked, “Do you know what happened next?”
One kid shouted,
“Jesus turned into a zombie and went after the Romans!”
ON THE LOOSE --
And we become
part of the Easter story -- we become part of the redemptive and
restorative work of God. Christ is on the loose and we are being
led by God to change the world around us. God’s power is on
the loose -- God’s mercy and peace is on the loose. God’s
justice is on the loose.
Christ is on
There is something
intriguing, comforting, awe-inspiring -- our Jesus on the loose.
AS THE STORY
When we begin to view our lives as part of the story of God’s
work, we might see each day, each conversation, each act -- a part
of God’s work in the world.
If Mark were
continuing the story through our lives -- how would our lives continue
to change the world around us and contribute?
When we begin
waking in the day and saying Christ is on the Loose --
We begin to
see God everywhere. And we live in our daily lives knowing that
Christ is our constant companion. Christ is loose and he is everywhere.
As part of the
Easter story -- knowing Christ is on the loose. -- We become part
of the work with God. God’s love and grace are on the loose
-- God’s restoration is on the loose.
We see it
-- we are a part of it -- what we do makes a difference. Our lives
BEING A PART
OF THE CONTINUATION
CHRIST IS ON THE LOOSE - TRANSFORMATION
Malcolm Muggeridge was a successful literary critic when the BBC
asked him to go with a film crew to India to see what was going
on with some do-gooder named Mother Teresa.
of watching her work with the very lowest of the low, and he wrote
about the absurdity of bringing comfort and affection to men and
women who were the derelicts of Indian society and who could have
no possible influence upon history.
any way to spend one's life, he asked?”
in explaining how these five days spent in India were the most important
five days of his life, literally turning his life upside down, he
put it like this: Humankind will not be changed by being taught,
but they will be changed by what is caught. This is what happened
to him: the infection called Christianity. He caught it from a carrier
of the infection named Mother Teresa, and from then on he has shared
transforming power is on the loose and the world is being restored
-- into the place -- of real contributions -- God used Mother Teresa’s
life to make a change in other people’s lives --especially
Can you imagine
your life affecting the life of someone else -- in such a profound
It can because
Christ is on the loose.
It can because
God’s transforming power gives us courage -- God’s power
WE BECOME PART
OF THE STORY
CHRIST ON THE LOOSE GIVES US COURAGE -
WOMEN -- FEAR
OF REPRISAL - FEAR OF RISK
We need courage. The women in the scripture needed courage. The
women were fearful. Maybe their fear may have come from that place
-- now the Jewish authorities and the Roman authorities would have
cause to round them all up -- death can’t keep them down.
They may have feared their own death.
COURAGE AS GOD
CALLS FOR JUSTICE - SHALOM ON THE LOOSE
God gives us courage as we call for God’s justice -- courage
shalom on the loose,
restorative power has no limits -- where it will show up and who
will be a part of it.
I am thinking
about social networking and how it is a great tool for us to use.
studied in the Wired Word -- a movement on Facebook.
In a recent Facebook exchange where an Israeli family, frightened
with the threat of war looming over them between Israel and Iran,
posted a message to the Iranian people.
HERE ARE A FEW
OF THE PHOTO POSTS -- [Show Slides]
"Well, as an Iranian in response, first of all I have to
tell you that if you are not seeing a great response (from) Iranians
it's just because of politics. If you see my face covered it is
because I cannot be seen as it too dangerous” But I wanted
to tell you from our heart -- We don’t seek war, we seek peace
-- only peace.
If you are
interested in following the posts you can go to You Tube posts as
-- BEING A CONTINUATION OF THE EASTER
It is not easy seeking peace and justice and reconciliation in the
world. Sometimes it takes courage. It is not easy following God
into places where there may be a risk.
GOD USING ALL
HUMANITY -- TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
We walk in courage and in awe as we see people continuing the story.
We stand in courage and awe as we watch God’s restorative
power at work. When we see this Facebook post we see people who
love peace and justice reaching out to touch the lives of others
who are afraid and who were compelled by God to do something. The
spirit of Christ is loose and working to bring peace and justice
into this world and He is using all humanity to make it happen.
Christ is on
the loose giving us courage as God goes before us. For these families
on Facebook -- God is going before them compelling them in peace
and love to offer a message of peace and love.
AS WE SEE GOD’S CARE IN WHEN WE FEEL HOPELESS
The women come
to the tomb grief stricken and wondering how will they go on beginning
with how will they roll away the stone.
He will never
leave us desolate -- he will never leave us without hope. Through
Jesus, God has made a covenant on our hearts and we see Christ on
the loose. God uses all of us to comfort and give each other hope.
I was in Meijer recently. I had a busy schedule that day and I found
that when I had planned to go to Meijer for the single mom’s
group, I decided to shop earlier than later and rearranged my schedule
It just so happens
on this day in Meijer, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen for
a while and I asked what is going on in her life. And she began
to tell me about a heartache and tension she was having. And there
was a grief that she was wearing and her eyes filled with tears
and we talked a little bit about feelings and I asked her if I could
pray with her right there. And right in the grocery aisle oblivious
of anyone around us. She agreed to be prayed for and we prayed for
God’s truth and hope in the midst.
WE ARE ON THE
LOOSE WITH CHRIST WE ARE PART OF THE EASTER STORY --
TODAY WE HEAR
THE END OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK BUT FOR US WE ARE RIGHT IN THE MIDST
OF THE STORY.
Our lives represent
the power of God in the world -- our lives are interactive with
God -- we bring God’s grace, mercy, transforming power to
GOD CALLS US
OUT OF THE TOMB AND INTO THE LIFE OF CHRIST ON THE LOOSE