Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

Happy are they who have reached the end of the road we seek to tread, who are astonished to discover the by no means self-evident truth that grace is costly just because it is the grace of God in Jesus Christ....Happy are they who know that discipleship simply means the life which springs from grace, and that grace simply means discipleship. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

The Cost of Discipleship

Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, Mary, Mary, and Salome went to Jesus’ tomb (Mark 16:2).

Sooner or later, those who have tried to follow Jesus find ourselves weary and broken like the Galilean women, on our way to bury him. It is the morning we awake to that unconsolable, aching emptiness that comes only from hope crushed. This dawn does not bring a new day, only the numb duty of last respects.

It is a terrible moment, this "end of the road we seek to tread." But we come to know it as surely as we did the kairos moment that once launched us on our discipleship adventure. "Come follow me and we’ll catch some big fish!" Jesus had said, firing us with visions of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:17). "These great edifices of domination will be dismantled stone by stone!" (13:2).

But that’s not how it turned out. Let the record show that Jesus was summarily executed in the interests of empire. Perhaps, after all, his vision of a new human order of justice and love is a dream deferred indefinitely by the powers that were, that are, and it appears ever will be.

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Sojourners Magazine April 1994
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