Everything We Need To Know

From my Easter Sermon yesterday:

Mark’s ending, with the women running in amazement and holy fear, seems so odd that later Christian tradition felt compelled to supply additional endings to make it more appealing, perhaps with what they thought readers were really waiting for.

As it is, there is no indisputable evidence of the resurrection. There is no account of how the word got out to the male disciples, let alone the whole wide world, because it says the women remained silent. And unlike the other Gospel narratives of the resurrection, there is no account of an appearance of the risen Jesus.  We’re left wanting a lot more information, more facts to help us make sense of what’s happened.  Can’t we have St. John ‘s lovely story of the garden tomb where Jesus appears and says, “Mary,” and she responds, “Rabboni,” and then runs in joy and wonder to tell the disciples?”  That seems like a good ending.

But I want to say that Mark’s unusual ending has grown on me over the years, so much so that I think that our understanding of the resurrection would be impoverished without it.  Could it be that Mark’s account, just these short eight verses, gives us everything we need to know about the resurrection of Jesus?  Not everything we want to know, of course. Because we would sure like some more empirical details to help shore up our sometimes tentative faith.  No, Mark does not give us everything we want to know about Jesus’ resurrection, but I want to say that he gives us everything we need to know, and that might be the most powerful way to end the resurrection story after all.

Listen to the sermon here.

This Joyful Eastertide

This joyful Eastertide,
Away with sin and sorrow!’

My Love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.

Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne’er burst his three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain:
But now hath Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen, arisen.

My flesh in hope shall rest,
And for a season slumber:
Till trump from east to west
Shall wake the dead in number.

Had Christ, that once…

Death’s flood hath lost his chill,
Since Jesus cross’d the river
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.

George Ratcliffe Woodward, 1894

Why Jerusalem?

From my Invitation to Holy Week at Church of the Holy Comforter this morning:

Why did Jesus go to Jerusalem?

The God Jesus came to Jerusalem to reveal was a God of steadfast love, a God of compassion and mercy, a God of justice and peace, a God whose fierce love has the power to heal and reconcile our wounded hearts and our wounded world.

I think Jesus knew that love and decided to live out that fearless, fierce love, holding nothing back.  He came to Jerusalem because Jerusalem is where God’s love needed to be as well as in quiet Galilee.  I think he knew exactly what he was doing, knew the risks, and knew that he well might die. It was the strongest, bravest decision he ever made.

I have always been compelled by the power of Jesus’ decision to go to Jerusalem and what it says to us as we attempt to be his faithful followers today.  Where is our Jerusalem?  And where are we being stretched, to risk, and to go where we have never been before, for the sake of God’s fierce, just, and transforming love?  These are questions we might hold in our hearts  as we keep company with Jesus over the next seven days.

Leave me a comment on how you might answer those questions.

Full sermon here.