Alleluia! Lord, have mercy on us. This morning, in honour of Jesus’ resurrection, we began our corporate worship service.
Mark’s gospel ends with the terrified and amazed Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, which we just heard. Because they were afraid, they ran away from the tomb and didn’t say anything to anyone.
The Unsettling Power Of Easter
Having heard this tale countless times, we are confident in its outcome. Do we skip over the women’s fear and awe, filling in details from Matthew, Luke, and John’s gospel? Trying to gloss over the issues raised by Mark’s abrupt conclusion can lead to a rift between us and our calling as followers of Jesus.
Because the events of Holy Week took place in Jerusalem, in a different era, to people who were far away. Holy Week isn’t about us from a safe, emotionally and historically distant vantage point because it isn’t about the disciples’ grief and upheaval.
On Friday, they watched in horror and tears as Jesus was publicly tortured and executed. Early on Sunday morning they set out to prepare Jesus’ body for burial because they were all good Jews who observed the Sabbath. After witnessing a loved one’s brutal and deliberate murder, the task of preparing the body for burial becomes even more difficult.
Central Theme of the Gospel
We should go back to the beginning after reading Mark’s gospel to see what we missed the first time. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the central theme of the Gospel.
Please refrain from reciting lengthy homilies in the voice of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t get much more complicated than that: It was just Jesus and the apostles back in Galilee, going about their daily business, doing God’s work. Terrifying beyond words. Moreover, it’s incredible.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is this. Near the end of Mark’s gospel, Jesus says, “Meet me in Galilee.” After a few minutes of reading through Chapter 1, we see Jesus there again — he is healing those who have been afflicted and casting out demons. In a state of terror and awe, we return to the beginning of our journey and “know the place for the first time,” in the words of T.S. Eliot. We have the ability to do this.