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Resurrection…dot, dot, dot!

Resurrection…dot, dot, dot!

“So [the women] went out and raced from the tomb, for joy and amazement had seized them;

and they proclaimed the good news to everyone, for they were… exuberant!”

Uh, hold on, Take 2:

“So [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them;

and they said nothing to anyone, for they were… afraid.”

Is this how a resurrection narrative should conclude?

…and they said nothing to anyone, for they were… afraid”

Was a more complete ending somehow lost, or was Mark prevented from writing one?

Or is this strange verse exactly where Mark intended to end his Gospel – for by doing so he is

sharing something vital about the resurrection. Mark 16: 1-8 is brief and sparse. There is no

appearance of the resurrected Jesus. Rather a “young man” speaks to the women and

promises them that Jesus will go ahead of them to Galilee, and that they will see him there.

Interestingly, similar words were echoed in an earlier episode – Mark 10: 32-34, where Jesus

was “going ahead” of his disciples to Jerusalem, and those who followed were terrified and


I think we are meant to connect the two: just as Jesus had led his frightened followers towards

Jerusalem and his passion (his death), so now he leads them to Galilee and resurrection. They

were being called then to share in his passion; now they are being called to share in his

resurrection. For Jesus’ death and resurrection is not only as a past event in history. It must

also be imprinted in the lives of us all. And so that ‘unfinished’ ending may be deliberate. It is

like a sentence that ends in ‘dot, dot, dot…’, suggesting that the meaning of the resurrection

is to be worked out in the lives and the witness of Jesus’ disciples….you and me!

The resurrection of Jesus does not mean there is no longer a task for us to do. The mission of

God continues in our world today. Mark is telling us that it is our role to complete the sentence,

and live out through our baptism, and our lives, this resurrection story which has no end.

As this short prayer puts it:

Lord of the unfinished sentence, the grammar of your resurrection is irregular,

Your syntax is demanding.

Help us to translate your language of love, into the story of our own lives. Amen.

And what better way to begin, than with the renewal of our baptismal vows…..

Rev’d Helen Roud

(with thanks to Dr. Clare Amos, 2018)

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