The Three Women: He is Risen!

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Exod. 12:14-271 Cor. 15:1-11Mark 16:1-8

He is Risen!

Like our Sunday reading, today’s expression of the gospel is the end of the Gospel of Mark, which I preached on yesterday, and which you know I love.  It is a remarkable cliffhanging ending.  Here it is today.

All along in Mark we have had Jesus’ identity enshrouded in mystery: “Shhh, don’t tell anyone who I am.”  The demons are silenced.  The crowd is kept in the dark.  The disciples are told, but told not to tell anyone about Jesus true identity.  At the cross everyone scatters.  Where are his 12 male disciples?  Gone.

Three women show up at the tomb.  They find the empty tomb, and are alarmed to encounter a young man dressed in a white robe who says, “He has been raised; he is not here.”   They run from the tomb, “for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

And that’s it!  The gospel ends there.  Naturally, over the centuries, monks copying the text had decided that was a disaster of an ending.  Not wanting to leave everyone hanging; being uncomfortable with tears, they decided to make up new endings.

But it is great the way it is!   The irony!  I mean, certainly they told someone eventually!  Right?  For here is the story before us.  It is a cliffhanger!  It is supposed to be.

Mark wants us to enter the story.  He wants us to claim it for ourselves and write our own ending. 

I also find it interesting that the Gospel of Mark has been filled with men.  Men, men, men.  Now the essential knowledge of Jesus’ power has been encountered in its fullness.  In this new world order, this post-resurrection world, it is women who are entrusted with the good news of the gospel.  It is no mistake.  Mark wants to let everyone know how fully Jesus was breaking down the walls of culture.

And much of what we know of early Christianity, a religion that was underground and met in peoples’ homes, is that it was dominated by women leaders.

God has defeated the powers of darkness, and given us all a new lease on life, and now we are to tell.

Are we ready like the two Marys and Salome to venture out of our chaos and fear and tell the story of what God has done?

-Matt

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