Friday, April 3, 2015

The Resurrection of Our Lord Year B (the day after) Mark 16:1-8

Mark 16:1-8
It is a strange way to end a story when clearly the women who “said nothing to anyone” must have told something to someone. Then again all the Gospels agree that the reality of the resurrection was beyond the ability of the witnesses to comprehend. In the Gospel of Mark being seized by amazement and terror is the tongue tying factor. “Do not be alarmed” wasn't enough for the women walking away from the unbelievable so they kept their mouths shut not daring to ask if anyone else saw what they saw. But in the inevitable conversations that followed their tongues were loosened and they began to describe what had terrified and amazed them so. At some point a first century focus group decided Mark needed a better ending so they added verses 9-20 to include appearances and admonitions by Jesus along with speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, snake handling and the ability to drink deadly things without dying. Makes for a better movie don’t you know. Are we any different? We like our stories to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and tie up the loose ends, thank you very much. But this story is better when it’s left as it is to amaze and terrify. When we cast the resurrection in the ordinary we fail to live fully into the new reality that issues forth from an empty tomb. Death has been destroyed. Why do we fear it so much? Or more to the point. Since death has been destroyed in the forever and always why do we continue to allow it to define our reality in the here and now? I’m not saying there are easy solutions to the complex problems in our world. There is a reason God chooses a crucifixion as the world’s wakeup call. But when we either remain silent or on the flip side package the resurrection in family friendly focus group endings we miss completely the power of what happened when the young man dressed in white said, “He is not here.” God intended those who entered the reality of the “he is not here” empty tomb to come out radically changed. God is always waiting for the same thing to happen to us. If that did not terrify (and amaze) us so much maybe we’d really live it. Oh, wait, that got Jesus crucified, so… maybe I’ll just pick up a snake – a small one, please.

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