Rocks Are Eggs, Too

Date: Mar 31, 2024
Speaker: Rev. Sarah Reed Jay

    Rocks Are Eggs, Too
    Rev. Sarah Reed Jay
    Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024
    Mark 16:1-8

    There is a young man named Ziad (zee-ed) who has been publishing a diary from Gaza over the past months, and in a recent entry he tells a piece of the story of a rescued cat named
    Hope. After rescuing Hope from the street, Ziad could not keep him where he was living and so a month earlier, he had found a home for the little cat.

    Unfortunately, a few weeks later he received a call that they were unable to care for the cat any longer. And so he began to make calls, looking for someone to take him in. Finally, a family said yes. Ziad had been isolated in his room with grief, unable to make himself go out, but he left his room on this day to go and pick up Hope and take him to his new home. He
    I went to get Hope and was so happy to see him: he got bigger and is still energetic and happy. The guy had really taken great care of him, he even returned the money we gave him and gave me some food as well.…

    When I arrived at the new family’s location, over 15 children came out and gathered around me. They were the sons and daughters of all the displaced people staying there. They were excited saying: “Our new cat is here. Please, let us touch him.”

    Speaking about his debilitating grief, Ziad says there is a “little, yet strong, seed of hope I have in my soul that, whenever it flies away due to hard times we are going through, finds its
    way to land back over my heart and push me to have positive thoughts and wish for a better future.”

    What is it about the human soul that enables us to still look for goodness and give love and kindness, even in a place of such devastation? There is a reflection of God’s light so stubborn in humanity that, even in the camps of displaced people in Gaza, there is kindness, and children will find joy.

    This is the promise of Easter: that God’s love is stronger than death, that God’s goodness is stronger than hate, that Life is more persistent than that which would quench it, and that Hope is more enduring than despair. We celebrate an empty tomb because it represents the Life that wins out, even over death, the Light that persists, even in darkness, and the Love that remains against all odds.

    Even in this difficult world in which wars and oppression seem to multiply and in which grief and fear are poured into our hands, Goodness and Love and Life, and the Hope that gives
    birth to them, cannot be erased. In the version of the Easter story that we know best, the women approach the tomb early on Sunday morning and find the stone rolled away. They meet a messenger who tells them that Jesus is risen and sends them to tell the disciples. And, that’s just what they do. But the gospel of Mark tells it differently. Mark tells us a part of the story that might have embarrassed the later church to remember.

    In Mark’s gospel, the messenger that morning shows Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome the empty tomb and tells them that Jesus was raised and will meet them in
    Galilee as he had promised. Yet, when they see and hear this, their first response isn’t Alleluia, but intense fear and silence – the gospel says, “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.” From our other texts, we surmise that eventually, the women found the courage to tell what they had seen. But, here we have a moment so important – and so honest – that we do not want to rush ahead without it.

    They ran away, and they were silent:

    Here in Mark, in today’s scripture, we bear witness to that difficult moment that often comes before joy or successful endeavor or freedom. Indeed, the things we cherish the most often arrive only after pain, fear, or challenge. Think of the things in your life that give you the greatest joy or pride or gratitude. Did those things come to you with ease? Did you welcome
    them without trepidation…or were you afraid?

    For you who are artists, is the process of painting or writing sometimes filled with the angst of creation…or the fear of allowing the world to see so deeply inside of you?
    What about your performers? How many hours of struggle and discipline were required for the beauty that you achieved?

    To those of you who have committed yourself to someone in love or marriage, did you feel any fear in taking such a leap? How about children? I know that when I found out that I
    was carrying twins, I didn’t feel joy at first – I felt terror.

    How about the acceptance of a calling? Have you ever wanted to keep silent and say nothing to anyone? What about our moments of freedom, new life, and new beginnings? When someone places a diploma in your hand, what trials led up to that point? What about an escape you made from an abusive situation or an oppressive ideology? These moments of victory are not lightly won.

    Maybe you are in such a moment today: a hard place, a creative place, or a place of gathering courage, the place that comes before joy. And so we are thankful to find a recognition
    of this place today in the women’s story.

    You may have been admiring these interesting and beautiful banners today. Several months ago now, when we invited Lorrie Taylor to become our artist-in-residence, she shared
    this idea with me…these oval-shapes.

    Immediately, I thought of stones and all the images of stones in scripture. Christ the cornerstone and houses are built on rock and Jacob’s stone pillow. Even in today’s text, we hear, “They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us?’” And then, one day a few weeks ago, when I was up in her workshop, Lorrie showed me this drawing, here, on the easel: the words say, “Rocks are eggs too.” In its most condensed form, that is the Easter story: what seems to be coldness and immovability, death, and the end of hope, in God’s hands, become a source of life.

    If we believe in a God who makes light from darkness and understands brokenness as beauty and fashions reconciliation out of division; if we believe that hatred does not have the final word, but unconditional love, and if we believe that peace is longer-lived than war; then for us: rocks are eggs too. Every stone can be a place from which life springs. Those boulders and
    barriers that we think signal the end for us may instead become our next beginnings. Sometimes we live among rocks. Daily, we see pictures of children standing in the rubble of war. And there are days we want to run in terror and say nothing to anyone. And yet. We do not say Hallelujah because all is well in the world. We say Hallelujah because there is Something greater than all that is not well in the world.

    That something is seen in the children’s love for the little cat named Hope, and it is seen in Jesus’ ability to forgive, even while on the cross, it is seen every day when you love your neighbor as yourself, and it is seen in the defiant emptiness of the tomb on Easter morning.


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