But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
The first to learn Christ had risen was a class of people that weren’t allowed in the Temple and were deemed “unclean” every month. They were an unordainble group, treated as second class by their religious community: they were women.
An angel shows up to this sexual/gender minority group and tells them the great news, but when they go and share this wonderful news with the men they are written off. Like other groups in The UMC, like Richard Allen, like the people of MARCHA, like LGBT Methodists in 1972, like the people of NFAAUM. These groups know how the Marys feel to receive good news from the Savior, that they too are loved and whole and included in this important Christian narrative, only to be shut down when they share this great news as the first preachers.
Like so many people in the church, the women in this text are not believed, they are not heard; they are shrugged off and ignored. They are affirmed in their “sacred worth” but not treated as fully whole and trustworthy. Not until Peter (a member of the dominant group) goes to verify their tale, do others start to believe. Little has changed in our faith.
For years LGBT Methodists told our stories, but it wasn’t until those with racial, gender, cis, and heterosexual privilege started saying, “Perhaps these gays are being used by God” that others started to give credence to our voices.
The promise of Easter is that Christ is with us all and that in being with us he includes us in the narrative. He sees us as loveable, as sacred, as trustworthy. He knows our stories are not “idle tales” but part of his story. And no matter how much we are written off, may we keep proclaiming the gospel we know to be true: We are loved! No one can separate us from the God who is Justice, who is A Full Embrace, whose message of liberation cannot be put to death. He is risen!
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