On this week, when we are declaring “He Is Risen!” there’s a lot of pressure on some od us to have a certain belief isn’t there? Especially about this miraculous event called the Resurrection. I’ve never witnessed someone come back to life. The whole thing seems a little unbelievable, doesn’t it?
I prefer to live in the mystery, some days. I prefer to say, “I don’t know.” My certainty is easily foiled. Everything I’ve ever been certain about, it seems, was eventually proven wrong. Eventually new information comes to light. So rather than basing my faith on data, it is rooted in the unknowing. I find great comfort in that. Not everyone is like that. And if you want facts, check out Rod’s post.
It doesn’t really help that Mark’s Gospel doesn’t end on a high note, either, does it? These poor Jewish women begin Lent in fear and they seem to end it in fear, too. Some people think that the true ending of Mark was mutilated. Others think this is truly the end of the story. Even if it Is disconcerting to you, what might you get out of this passage?
You might still be afraid even after following Jesus.
You might receive “permission” to feel “afraid.” I guess more than permission though it lets us know that things in this world won’t work out completely. That resurrection doesn’t erase all the pain of the world. And fullness comes over a lifetime. Jesus’ resurrection may have offered these women hope, but they still lived in occupied territory and little did they know that their faith would eventually be criminalized and many of them would be martyred. Yes, they had a lot to fear too.
And so we do. For one, we might receive ridicule from materialists for believing this whole thing. You might be embarrassed of other Christians, too. It might be hard for some of us to even be open about being a Christian at all. And that fear can cripple our faith. It’s OK to feel it. My simple solution is to stay close, stay in, let someone else know about it. Rest in the fact that God is with you.
I have learned to embrace my doubt. And without doubt? I don’t have an opportunity to have faith. So I hold on to the mystery of it all. Because I have a chance to belief something bigger than myself and my own finite mind.
If you don’t want mysteries, the weird conclusion of Mark isn’t even where you should begin. If you’re going to follow Jesus for more than a few years, I think you should get used to the mysteries and the paradoxes. It’s not clean. It doesn’t really work out. Take heart, though, all of these things that we might want to work out take a long time to do it. This is a journey. Faith takes time. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it, or it’ll die; care for it, or these blessings disguised as mysteries might just become thorns.
We are the best evidence of the Resurrection.
Look, the other Gospels make clear that Jesus is Risen in their conclusions. Furthermore, Mark, earlier in the text, certainly implies it at the very least. There’s no way, in my opinion, he didn’t think Jesus was risen. But that’s not the point for me. The ending gives us a chance to live out the resurrection, to be the rest of the story, mutilated or not, and not just to believe it. We can be the evidence of the Resurrection of pointing to it.
We aren’t just a sign of the Risen Body of Christ, Paul says, we literally are it. As far as the world goes, we may be the only resurrected Jesus they know and meet. With this grand opportunity before us, I hope we can gently take some steps toward it, or boldly run for it.