Dispatch One Hundred Twenty-Five

Posted: April 5, 2015 in Thirty-First Bundle
Tags: , , , ,

MARK 16:1-8

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.

What, really, was the resurrection all about? Was it simply a matter of a body coming back to life? Was it some kind of mystical transport to another realm, outside the dimensions of ordinary consciousness? The crux of the problem, surprisingly, has less to do with the intrinsic meaning of the resurrection itself than with the way our question is phrased in the first place. We shouldn’t be asking what the resurrection was, but what it IS.

Taking a clue from Paul, whose ministry and writings predate our earliest Gospel (Mark), the resurrection needs to be understood as a possible experience in present time, and not simply a reference to a miraculous event in the past. Just as the redemption of the cross is unfinished until that moment the believer grasps its import and surrenders to its simultaneous judgment and forgiveness, so the resurrection is more an event vibrating on the threshold of reality than something for the history books. In fact, in the larger picture the cross and the resurrection belong together, as two sides of a single yet dynamic mystery.

The darkness of the cross is our realization of standing with those who put Jesus away, owning within ourselves that which rejects the essential truth by nailing it to the beam of our anxious certainties. But when the experience comes to us, utterly unexpected and undeserved, of a generous love that is given again and again despite our best efforts to destroy it, and opening at last to its irresistible grace, we are set free and filled with the holy light of new life.

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