Feedback on John 20 from CM
I think this is a moving and effective analysis of the John passage about Mary Magdalene's experience. The theme of darkness is so important. Without it, there would be little need for the passion and resurrection. Easter would be no big deal.
The only place I lose you is in the story from Elie Wiesel. I admire Elie Wiesel a great deal, but this particular story is so graphic and has such a deep note of despair to it that it may derail your whole purpose of offering hope. This story may steal the show and be the only thing someone remembers from the whole sermon.
It may be better to skip it and to find some way to concentrate more on Jesus's words in the next paragraph (Why hast thou forsaken me?) and the suggestion in those words that he has suffered with us the full possibilities of human suffering. What are the implications of Christ's suffering? How would the story be different if he had died peacefully in his sleep? Or what if he had died by a sudden and painless violence that left no opportunity for agonizing?
I remember thinking about this years ago when I was teaching Sunday School to Cambodian teen-age boys, most of whom were victims in someway of the horrible Cambodian holocaust. What made Christ relevant and compelling to them was that he suffered. They and their families had suffered, and what they needed was someone to suffer with them.
The Elie Wiesel story, however, offers the possibility that we're out here suffering by ourselves. He has cause, of course, but this doesn't strike me as an example that inspires faith. Hope this little bit is helpful. I look forward to hearing you on Sunday.