This is the end of the Gospel of Mark. 16:8 is the end of the story – over time, people have been so troubled by this ending that they added on other bits and pieces. But this was it – the women fled and said nothing because they were afraid.
We know this cannot be true –otherwise, we would not be here. We would not know anything beyond the death of the most perfect human being who ever lived. We would think that God had died then and there. We would not know the rest of the story, as the great Paul Harvey used to intone.
We will spend lots more time in Mark over the summer in Ordinary time. Today we are at the very end – no resurrection appearances, no road to Emmaus, no Ascension. This is the end – and this is the gospel dealt to a preacher this Easter morning. I could have gone the easier route, but that seemed to be cheating in year B.
If you remember, it was not that long ago when we talked about the birth story in Mark. Remember? “This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.” Mark’s entire birth story – right there. In Mark, Jesus arrives on the scene as a grown man, ready to be baptized by John. Maybe Mark’s whole intention is to only begin the story – and this ending is merely the end of chapter 1. Maybe Mark intends us all to complete the story with our own lives?
The women went to the tomb to honor the body of Jesus. With the news of the resurrection, they fled in fear. Fear of the supernatural? Fear of a love so great that even death could not restrain it? Fear of a God who loves us so much that we are all welcome – any time – no matter what? How about the fear that may have crept in when they had time to think about it all? The fear that Jesus meant what he said about healing and caring for the least, the lost and the last? The fear that his words about the last supper on Thursday night were true? This is my body, this is my blood: they went to honor the body, and maybe realized that they were meant to become the body.
We are Resurrection people. We believe Christ was raised from the dead – conquering death forever. We believe he walked around among us again bodily until he ascended into heaven. We also are Eucharist people. We believe that every time we eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, Christ is resurrected in us – he lives through our hands and feet and actions in this world. We are the uprising of hope and healing to this hurting world.
On this day, I challenge you all to get over your fear of being Christ in the world. I challenge you to tell your story of meeting Christ. I challenge you to heal and tend to the least, the lost and the last that God has placed in your path and in your heart. Go be Easter People! Amen.