Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

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. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But 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. But 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.” So 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. [Mark 16:1-8]


It is remarkable. Not that a body disappeared. But that Mark would announce the resurrection, and end his book, with terror-awe and silence. Revealed is not the treasure of risen life, but the emptiness of a tomb which could not stomach death.

Most scholarly opinion believes that Mark was writing during or just after the rebellion of 66-70 CE, which resulted in the devastation of Palestine and the destruction of the Jewish Temple by Rome. The signs of resurrection must have been... difficult to experience, and puzzling to discern.

Perhaps it has always been so. When you are in the grip of death, of oppression, of forces which seek your capitulation or destruction, it is difficult to think "outside the box" of those prison-tombs.

And yet - there is Jesus. Once again, God is not in the place we expect.

Christ is risen! Alleluia! To find him, now go where he has sent you.

Fra Angelico, Resurrection, 1440-41, Convento di San Marco, Florence.
 

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