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I’m so glad the tomb was empty

In the gospel of Mark, as in all four gospels, it is the women who first make their way to the tomb that held Jesus’ body.

You see, Black women have been showing up for Black people for a very long time. And Black women here in the gospel show up for Jesus despite the threat and danger that was on their lives. The men were hiding in a room because they feared the Jewish aristocracy was looking for anyone who had supported Jesus, to kill them too.

The women in Mark, despite the threat, get to the tomb and find the stone rolled back and a young man dressed in white sitting at the right.

They are alarmed but the young man (thought to be an angel) says to them, “do not be afraid, you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here…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.” The women then flee from the scene.

A good friend of mine and brother from another mother has a saying I have adopted. It is, “I’m so glad the tomb was empty!”

I’m so glad the tomb was empty because it demonstrates that no government, no military, no corporation and no insurrectionist group has the final say. Only God has the final say.

Jesus’ tomb being empty demonstrates that God is on the side of the poor, the indigent, the left out and left behind.

God is on the side of those, to quote Howard Thurman, “whose backs are against the wall.”

To quote the late James Cone, “God is on the side of the oppressed.”

That empty tomb makes clear where God stands in history and it is not with those who would diminish life.

God is not with those who would erase the brutal and colonial white supremacist history of the founding of this nation by banning books and changing curriculums to say that chattel slavery was a benefit to African people.

God is not with those who would create policies to strip a woman of her reproductive rights.

God is not with those who would purchase bibles with the constitution inside it to pay the legal bills of a vile person.

God is, however, on the side of those who advocate for a living wage and a universal basic income for all (like there is in the Swiss nation, and Jesus fed people without charging them for it).

God is on the side of those who organize for single payer health care where everybody, regardless of economic status, has free access to the best health coverage (Jesus healed without cost).

God is on the side of those who would fight to open up access for all marginalized people just like Jesus did, when he reached out to the marginalized of his day, from people suffering with leprosy, to Samaritan people, to including women as His apostles.

I’m so glad the tomb was empty!

I’m also glad the tomb was empty because by it being empty Jesus is looking for people who truly want to be “Christ-like,” and not just “Christians.”

There are a lot of Christians.

Christians stormed the capital and caused great suffering to innocent law enforcement and threatened violence to elected officials.

Christians do some very horrible things to people different from them.

But Jesus is looking for people who want to be Christ-like to meet him in Galilee.

The tomb being empty is not the end but the beginning of a spirit that seeks to bring the “king-dom,” of Heaven right here on earth, meaning the just, inclusive and equitable rule of God.

The tomb being empty means Jesus is looking for Christ-like people to call for a ceasefire in Palestine after thirty thousand Palestinians have been killed, because Jesus is called “The Prince of Peace.”

The tomb being empty is for people who believe enough to become active in a body of believers called church, to do more than just have church teas, Easter programs or pastor or church anniversaries.

Jesus is looking for people who want to be more Christ-like, wanting to strive for their communities to have all the resources they need, to have schools that are not funded by property taxes but are funded first based on where there is the most need.

The tomb being empty means Jesus is waiting at your Galilee to help you build community that is an alternative, beloved community where everybody is valued and everybody has enough.

I’m so glad the tomb was empty because Jesus demonstrated that poor, dispossessed and disinherited people have more power than they realized.

It is Resurrection Power that can transform blight into beauty, food deserts into food oases where economic opportunities abound.

I’m so glad the tomb was empty!

Uhuru Sasa!

Knowing The Truth - Part I
Rev. John E. Jackson
Senior Pastor at | + posts

Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary, 1276 W. 20th Ave. in Gary. “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious, Christ-centered church, committed to the community; we are unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.”

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