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. Mark 16:7
Reed and I love to play board games, but there is an interesting quirk to a number of them; just when you think you are about to wipe the board with the other person you get sent back to start. When Reed was little and we played Chutes and Ladders it never failed that I would get to the top row and almost be at the finish line and then hit that Chute that takes you right back down to start. Or now when we play Parcheesi or Sorry, it has become rather cutthroat and it never fails that one of us ends up being the person sorried or sent back home especially when you are just about to get your pieces safe. But one of my favorite games is Bonkers (bonkers is fun, bonkers is nice, bonkers is never the same game twice). In this game, you create the action on the board by placing cards down that allow you to return to start and collect a point. If you’re lucky, you can get caught in a loop in which you score over and over again. Going back to start and figuring out ways to make those scoring loops are part of the fun of the game. Like Monopoly it is one of the few games where start is good.
In more modern games, there is also the going back to start element. When you play a video game you often have to restart a level until you have learned how to fight the main boss in a way that leaves enough life for you to win and move on. But to do this you may end up stuck on that level for a very long time. Or in some games what ends up frustrating you is missing something. In order to move on and be successful you have to find all of the right objects along the way and meet the right people who tell you pertinent information that you have to collect. But when you have missed something and you get to the end and don’t have that item you have to go back or start over. If you head back, you may not be able to figure out where the item that you missed is located. But sometimes you wander aimlessly searching but never finding what it is you seek. So there is the point where if the frustration level is high enough you have to choose will you reboot, will you delete the file and begin the game again, losing all you have found. Starting from scratch, at the beginning sometimes allows you the best hope by being a little wiser on the journey.
The Easter Story in the Gospel of Mark asks us to go back to start and begin again. The women who find the tomb empty are to head back to Galilee where they will see Jesus again. Why are they being sent back to the beginning? Does Jesus want them to walk where they have walked before remembering what happened in each of those spots? Will they remember the place where they first heard the good news, where a family member was healed, where they heard the best story of their life, where one of these dear friends was transformed through healing, where people were fed and nourished, where they learned to pray and what it means to follow God? Will Mary Magdalene remember where Jesus pulled out those demons that were drowning her and then showed her what it meant to be a servant? Will Mary, Jesus’ mother remember all of the times she watched as her child grew into the anointed one? Will she remember the day she went from being his mother to becoming a follower. When they return to Galilee will they encounter Jesus in the people? Will they meet Jesus along the way in Simon, Andrew, James and John, the demoniacs, the lepers, the tax collectors and prostitutes, the mother-in-law and young children?
This Easter Season journey with us back to Galilee where we will see how some friends will bring a paralytic to be healed, where we will meet a tax collector who becomes a disciples, where we will learn that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, where a mother fights fiercely to get her child healed, where we learn what the Sabbath is for and that we are to be new wine. The Easter Season is our chance to reboot, to start our walk with God over again. We are invited once again to enter the story and believe the Good News that the Kingdom of God has arrived.
Journey with me to Galilee with the following Sermons
April 8 Mark 16:1-8 Easter
April 15 Mark 2:1-12 With a Little Help from My Friends
April 22 Mark 4:21-34 Earthday Kingdom Seeds
April 29 Mark 2:13-17 Feasting with Sinners
May 6 Mark 2:23-3:6 Sabbath Practices
May 13 Mark 7:24-30 Mama Fights Jesus for Help
May 20 Mark 3:7-19a Help for the Journey
May 27 Mark 2:18-22 New Wine