the Easter cliffhanger

khoraanasBelow is our Easter message to our community …. based on, Mark 16, one of the possible gospel readings for Easter Day:

I like the easter Sunday gospel reading from Mark.
Matthew gives this account with earthquakes and lightning.
It was amazing!
Luke tells us Jesus appeared and disappeared and went up to heaven.
It was amazing!
John tells us Jesus could walk through locked doors into their meetings.
It was amazing.
In Mark …. nothing happens!
The woman turn up,
they see a young man in white, (Mark doesn’t even tell us he’s an angel!)
he tells them Jesus has risen ….
and they go away too afraid to tell anybody!
No earthquakes, no splendorous beings, no walking through doors,
nothing happens  …

it’s all very ordinary.

So … on this Easter day … which this year corresponds with  April Fools Day …. Mark presents a very ordinary account … no tricks, no gimmicks, no fooling around …. just the plain and simple good news that Jesus has risen from the dead!

There is no embellishment here
No blinging it up
nothing … absolutely nothing other the than the plain facts in front of them
allowing the quality of the occurrence to speak for itself

Jesus was dead
Now Jesus is risen

So why doesn’t Mark tell us more?
Why doesn’t he describe more than he does.
I believe the simple answer is … he can’t.
It’s never happened before ….
No one has ever experienced a resurrection before …
so he doesn’t know how to explain it
Instead
He lets the story speak for itself

Why?
And why do I think this is  is appropriate today?
I believe Mark is making a bold statement here
And I wonder if the reaction of the women is backing this up
They run away terrified
could this be because they are beginning to realise  the consequences of what is happening

This was Jesus
Son of God
the Messiah
who was dead … they know this … they were there
they thought all had failed

But …. now he is alive
and if that’s true …. they realise that some awesome power has been released into the whole of creation.

Maybe Mark focusses on the ordinary elements of the story so that we don’t freak out
So that we can grasp the true fact that God is in the everyday
And if God is in our everyday, and the everyday of others, then God may not be that difficult to connect with

And as all good story tellers, Mark leaves space for us to imagine, to ask, to wonder.

Maybe it is that Mark realises that it is not really what we hear or are told that impacts us, but it is what we see and what we feel .. in our hearts … in our bones … and that’s as relevant to understand for us as it is for those beyond our walls that we long to reach

It seems to me … and I hazard a guess here

And you need to consider this with your one study … don’t just believe it because the vicar says so …. go check it out …
but it seems to me that Mark has left this gospel account on a  cliffhanger

I don’t think it’s an accident that Mark ends his gospel at v 8. Scholars reliably tell us the other verses, after verse 8,  were added later, but the jury’s out on whether Mark couldn’t finish for some reason or whether this was planned.

I believe it was planned, mainly because I find that for it to accidentally break here, where we can make a case for intent, is quite revealing.

and these final verses …
well they read like the end of the chapter
with that cliffhanger of what will happen next
and I think that is deliberate
because the story is ongoing
Jesus is STILL risen
and I believe we get to write the next chapter
as people before us have…. and as people after us will

that chapter writes as we journey with God
as we notice what God is doing in our community with a desire to join in

This easter morning nothing happens
But everything changes
Because Jesus lives
Jesus lives in our lives
he  lives in the lives of the creation around us
calling us to be ourselves
to journey with him
in the normal, everyday, sometimes mundane, stuff of life

and it is because it’s normal and everyday
that we know we can
because we are created normal and everyday
filled, called and loved by God

And that is AMAZING!

Amen.

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