Scriptures: RCL – Mark 16:1-8
Let us pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you our Rock and our Redeemer, amen.
With the beauty of spring unfolding all around us, it is hard to come up with a set of words to share with you about Easter. Spring is here, life is being renewed before our eyes, and the Lord has been raised – is that not proclamation enough?
Commentator Gail O’day reminds us the phrase “he has been raised” in Greek is a passive verb. That means it:
“Puts the focus on Jesus as the object of the action done by another—the normal patterns of life and death have been disrupted by someone who can undo the power of death. That the women flee in “terror and amazement” indicates that they know exactly the identity of the unnamed subject of that passive verb. Terror and amazement are words that describe one’s response to a theophany, to a revelation of God. It is God who has raised Jesus; it is God who has altered the rules of their known world.”
Most of the commentaries I glanced through on Mark’s text have it placed as the Holy Saturday text, not the Lord’s Resurrection text. Consequently, their focus was on the feelings of the women as they fled from the empty tomb in silent fear and trembling. I am intrigued with O’day, as she has a slightly different understanding of the women’s response. She writes,
“In the face of theophany, silence is not a failed or inadequate response. Silence is a wholly appropriate response, because the women’s silence creates a space for the voice and presence of God to resound. What adequate words can the women speak in those first few moments as they leave the tomb that would not trivialize the moment, that would not make the empty tomb into a story about what they have seen instead of being a moment about what God has done? The women’s restraint and Mark’s parallel restraint in recounting the Easter story combine to allow a moment of holy awe for the reader of the Gospel.”
And perhaps that is how we best ought to leave it…the mystery of what God has done in Jesus – and subsequently in us – echoing down through the ages and into our own faith story.
What has God done in us? Only you can answer that for your own life. I can tell you what God has done for me. Perhaps, some of you have experienced something similar. Life, as you all know, has twists and turns, surprises and challenges. For me, where there didn’t seem to be a way, God made a way. Wherever there have been times of darkness and death, God has given light and life. When there have been challenges I could not overcome myself, God provided hope to help me overcome them. When I needed to let some things go and I could not do it myself, God provided the strength and faith to let them go. A part of where the mystery of God intersects with the story of my life is that God makes a way where a way doesn’t seem possible.
So here we are, witnesses each in our own way; and, like Mark’s gospel seems to lead us, we must go forth and make our own decision how best to witness to the miracles we have seen and heard.
May all glory be unto the Risen One, who lived our life, died our death, overcoming even that to reunite us with God. Amen? May it be so.
O’day, Gail R. Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide.
1. Have you ever felt like something in your life remains “unfinished?”
2. How do you know for sure when a project is complete?
3. Share a little bit how you might compare our spiritual lives with “unfinished projects.”