Roll Away Your Stone

Easter Sunday 2019

“Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I’m afraid of what I will discover inside.”

Roll away your stone.  Roll away that giant, massive, mammoth stone—like one of those smooth granite boulders we stare in wonder and awe of as you drive Highway 28 down the East Shore towards South Lake (y’all know what I’m talking about). Just imagine one of these giant, massive, mammoth stones that has been rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb since Good Friday afternoon.  And when those Roman soldiers pushed it—heaving and shoving, huffing and puffing—, when they finally pushed this ridiculous rock over the grave of our crucified Lord, well, it wasn’t going nowhere.  It was stuck, cemented in place, never moving from that sacred space.

And I bet, although we were not eyewitnesses of that Resurrection Day, of that moment two thousand years ago when the stone was rolled away.  Although we did not quake with both fear and excitement beside Mary, his mother, or Joanna or even Mary of Magdala.  I bet we have all felt that insurmountable feeling of a stone being wedge between us and the Divine, between us and those we love, between us and every individual, every child of God we encounter.  I would guess we all have felt at one time or another a giant stone being rolled over our own souls.

Even now you may feel the weight, the pressure, the immensity—how it seems to crush you, and repress you, and suffocate the life out of you.  This stone is a way of hiding the darkness that resides inside of us, of keeping the light from entering in, of limiting our own selves from shining forth.  We have gotten really good at fashioning these rough hewn rocks over those spaces of our souls that are out-of-bounds to the outside world.

Perhaps your stone is over-functioning—perfecting projects, putting in extra hours, prioritizing work over relationships as a way of masking insecurity and the constant feeling of inadequacy.  Perhaps your stone is addiction—hiding the hurt from onslaught of shame since childhood, for your specific God-given identity being unacceptable by your family.  Perhaps your stone is fear—fear of rejection, fear of being emotionally vulnerable, fear of being fully yourself—flaws and all.  The stone—although giant, massive, and mammoth—, it can still take on various shapes and sizes, go by many diverse and differing names, as it keeps our souls from opening up to all of the God moments surrounding us.

Yet when we take that risk, when ask God for grace, when we finally roll away the stone, we do not find a void.  We do not encounter a gaping hole that needs filling by our God.  Because when we roll away the stone, we discover that God has actually been there the entire time—that Jesus was with us amidst the darkness, and death, and decay.  That he has been waiting beside our truest, most authentic, most God-like selves, ready to burst forth into the light and celebrate our souls’ own resurrection day.  When we finally roll that stone away,—although it is dangerous and daring—, we will find that the whole time there has been a community here that is caring, and accepting, and loving, and ready to meet the image and likeness of God that was inside of us from the very beginning.  From that moment we were knit together in our mother’s wombs.  From the instant that the Divine spoke us into being.

So as I ask you to consider: what stone might be holding you back this joyful Easter morn?  I will also ask you to share a Millennial moment with me, and listen to the words of one of my favorite songs, composed by one of my favorite bands, about one of my favorite days.  You can find the words printed in the back of your bulletins, right before the parish notes.  And as we listen to these lyrics together, I ask you to take a deep breath, feel your feet firmly rooted to this earth, and bask in the beauty of this blessed morning.

When you begin to hear the slow picking of a banjo, imagine angels effortlessly descending to that stone in front of your soul.  And when the lyrics start, contemplate what has been causing this separation from the Divine inside of yourself.  Then as the crescendo approaches and the beat of the bass quickens, imagine those angels rolling up their sleeves, calling upon all of God’s power and might, summoning forth the strength for a miracle.  Feel all of that pressure building up inside of your soul so that when the bridge bursts forth Jesus is bursting forth within you from the tomb.

And then my friends: Roll away shame.  Roll away fear.  Roll away judgment.  Roll away perfection.  Roll away indifference.  Roll away insecurity.  Roll away addiction.  Roll away anger.  Roll away anything and everything that keeps us from God and one another.  Roll away your stone while I roll away mine, and together we will see what we will find.

 

 

“Roll Away Your Stone”

Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I’m afraid of what I will discover inside

‘Cause you told me that I would find a hole
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

“Darkness” is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burnt
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with a restart

“Darkness” is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see
“Darkness” is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see

Stars hide your fires
These here are my desires
And I will give them up to you this time around
And so I’ll be found
With my stake stuck in this ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

Hide your fires
These here are my desires
And I will give them up to you this time around
And so I’ll be found
With my stake stuck in this ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

But you, you’ve gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine

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