Monday 10 February 2014

Mark 16:1-8 - Jesus is alive!

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This is the final chapter of Mark. Early manuscripts contain only the first eight verses, the rest of the chapter seems to have been added at a later date. Not only that, there is an obvious conflict between the older and later parts. In verse eight, the women say nothing because they're afraid. But in verse ten, Mary of Magdala tells what she has seen.

In the evening (Sabbath ends at sunset), the women buy the spices they need. As soon as there is enough morning light they head for the tomb to anoint the body, wondering how they will move the heavy stone. Seeing the tomb open and the young man sitting inside makes them very anxious and they run away. And although they have been given a message to pass on, their fear prevents them from doing so.

Can we see ourselves in these grieving women? I think we can.

Look at it like this. Their world has been turned upside down. The one they trusted and followed has been killed, and now all they know to do is follow tradition. They buy the necessary materials and do the right thing. But they find something unexpected and disorientating. The body is not there!

A stranger tells them what to do next but they run away and are too afraid to say anything. The message makes little sense to them, they're distraught, nobody will believe them, they'll be ridiculed. So they say nothing.

When we are in default mode we revert to doing the traditional, habitual, familiar things. When we are afraid we freeze up and do nothing. Like these women, we need time to process the unexpected and the distressing. The fear passed and they told their story eventually; it is recorded here in Mark's gospel for us.

To be of value to the Lord of the harvest we will need to act in new ways that are appropriate to the new circumstances [Tweet it!]. The old, familiar, traditional thoughts and actions are rarely what is needed in a time of great change. Maybe the short article 'Fail to succeed' will help to move you forward. Be of good heart, be very excited and very bold. Jesus is alive! Nothing can hold him down or hold him back. Be like him!

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