By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge
In our Jesus story, we find three women — Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome out for an early morning visit to Jesus’ tomb where they intend to anoint his body with oil and spices. As they make their trek, they ask a question that holds the key to help us arise from our own tomb of ego.
“Who will roll away the stone?” This is not an idle question when taken literally. The stones used to cover the tombs in Jesus’ time were huge and would take anywhere from sixteen to twenty men to muscle it out of the way. How were three women supposed to get in to visit Jesus?
“Who will roll away the stone?” Metaphysically speaking, this is question Jesus came to ask the world, and it was this question that got him killed in the first place. That stone is still in place today, because that stone is the fear that keeps this world locked in ego– fear of one another and fear of our own true selves.
Jesus was such a threat because he was willing to roll away the stone of fear that keeps us all trapped in ego — addicted to the dysfunctional society we have agreed to create.
Think about it this way — if we rolled away the stone of fear in this world, all of those egoic agreements that serve as the social glue of our world would dissolve. What if we no longer agreed that little slips of colored paper and pressed coins connoted wealth, prestige or power? What if we no longer agreed that some people have more power than others because of some title, such as president, pope or priest? What if we no longer agreed that some people deserve better treatment than others based on such criteria as skin color, social location or economic advantage?
It would be chaos! The ego tells us if all of this happened, we would make an even bigger mess of the world. Why? Because to break those agreements is to abandon our very identities. We derive our sense of place and self-worth from these common addictions. To disagree is to end the power of the ego, the ego that believes these agreements bring security.
Jesus showed us what life could be when we dare to break these addictions and live into our higher self. He instantly healed people of their delusions. He fed thousands with just a few loaves and fishes. He walked on water and raised the dead.
The ego tells us this is impossible, woo-woo claptrap. It’s crazy to think that we could live in a world of miracles like that. But, the powerful knew that Jesus was onto something — that he was giving away the secret that would destroy their power in this ego-driven world.
What the ego doesn’t want us to figure out is this — the world we’ve created is hell. Jesus came offering heaven — but it’s unknown and unfamiliar — that heaven is not in our comfort zone. We want that magic, but, we fear that if we stepped out of the box just like Jesus did, we’ll meet the same fate — crucifixion.
But, Jesus is telling us that if we don’t, we’re as good as dead anyway. A life worth living is not spent in crucifixion — it’s only after the resurrection — after the rising that we can be free from this ego-driven world.
After the resurrection, Jesus didn’t just walk on water — he walked through locked doors and walls. He was a completely new creation. This is the miracle of resurrection, we are made new — lifted above corporate and individual addictions to the ego world.
This is a threat to the powerful who want to keep us locked in that tomb of ego. So the question for this Easter morning is the same as that first one: “Who will roll away the stone?”
I have been asked for the text of this sermon by several people so here is a link to the PDF version of the sermon.