Scripture: Mark 16:1-8 (NRSV)
Have you ever finished watching a movie feeling unsatisfied – even upset – by an unexpected or cliffhanger ending? Today’s scripture, the original conclusion of the Gospel of Mark, can certainly leave one feeling underwhelmed or even frustrated.
We want more because other Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and then to the disciples, that he issued the Great Commission and ascended to heaven. In other words, we want our Easter Sunday story to have a happy and unambiguous ending – the triumph of good over evil and life over death, with side orders of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies.
But that’s not what happened on that morning long ago. Instead, as this scripture relates, grief gave way to distress and then shock at the angel’s startling revelation, followed by amazement and fear. The women were too frightened to believe Christ had risen and was on his way to Galilee, the embodiment of the Good News.
So how are we supposed to respond to Mark 16:1-8? I believe we are called to put ourselves into the story and imagine how we would respond to the angel’s message – immediately and with belief or only after we gathered more evidence.
When I was a young newspaper reporter, I often ran out of the newsroom, notepad in hand, when the police scanner sputtered to life and 911 dispatchers directed emergency personnel to respond to reports of fires, car crashes, robberies or shootings. I wanted to see the action first hand and interview witnesses. Sometimes that led to good stories, filled with vivid details, but sometimes the reports were false alarms. As I got older, and more experienced, I usually waited to verify the initial reports by telephone before heading out for the story.
As Christians, we often face a similar dilemma: we don’t always know how and when to respond to circumstances that test our faith – whether to forge ahead or weigh the evidence and act only when we feel ready. Fortunately, faithful believers can help write the story as long as we keep open hearts and minds: Jesus eventually will meet us, whether on the road to Galilee or after we arrive there.
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! Through his life, his teachings, his suffering and his sacrifice, Jesus ushered in an “Upside Down and Inside Out” kingdom and world. May the risen Christ renew your faith, bring you hope and joy through all your days and give you courage to spread the Good News. Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
THANK YOU AND FAREWELL:
Thank you for reading Goshen College’s online devotionals for the 2015 Lenten season. This year, 16 GC students and 19 employees contributed reflections, stories and prayers and our theme was “Upside Down and Inside Out.” We hope you will join us online for our Advent Devotions, which will begin in late November. Peace and blessings!
Scripture: Mark 16:1-8 (NRSV)
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb? 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you. 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.