Monday, March 21, 2016

Looking Ahead to March 27, 2016 -- Easter Sunday

This year we will read the Easter story as told in Mark 16:1-8

The Sermon title is Now What?

Early Thoughts: It seems to be missing something, that story from Mark.  No appearance of the Risen Christ. No joy. No promise that the story will even be told to anyone.  Instead we have fear and amazement and flight an silence. And it appears that this indeed may have been the original ending of the Gospel:
“They said nothing to nobody -- they were afraid, you see.”
That’s a fairly literal, inelegant English rendering of Mark 16:8. Could the evangelist have ended his Gospel like this? What kind of victor is vindicated from death, yet no one gets to see it? You might as well ask, what kind of Messiah dies crucified (15:16-39)?
Although various manuscripts add endings to Mark (including 16:9-20, best known from the KJV), there’s no question that our earliest texts of this Gospel end at 16:8. Did the author continue beyond 16:8 with an ending that was lost? Did he intend something beyond 16:8 but was prevented from writing it? Neither alternative is impossible, but both are speculative: they lack any biblical or traditional basis for verification. Is it preposterous that Mark deliberately ended his Gospel at 16:8? Some think so. I think not. (from the folks at Narrative

Now what happens????

In some ways it is the question that has been hanging in the air every since Jesus was arrested in the Garden.  The One we have followed, the One we have believed would change the world has been arrested. Now what do we do?

The One we thought was God's Chosen One has been convicted and crucified. Are we next? Now what?

The tomb is empty?!?!? Where could the body be? What do we do with the rest of our lives?

What better question to ask on Easter?

What difference does it make in our lives to know that life wins, that God's yes outdoes the loudest NO the world can muster, that the Kingdom is born here among us?  "Now What" indeed.

But you see the story doesn't end there, with fear and amazement and flight and silence. One might say it only begins there.  Because now we start to live out the "now what".

The world has been changed. Easter is one of those things after which nothing will ever be the same again. Eyes that have seen the resurrection can not see the same again, the lenses have been changed. Hearts that have felt the power of resurrection can not feel the same way about the world ever again.

So I guess the answer to the question is in large part up to us.  How will we live now that we have met the reality of Easter? How will we share the Good News of this day, of this new reality, of the Kingdom?  How will we move past fear and amazement and flight and silence?

Now what.....

1 comment:

  1. "Although various manuscripts add endings to Mark (including 16:9-20, best known from the KJV)," --

    Who is feeding you this nonsense? Let's put the evidence in focus:

    Number of Greek manuscripts in which the text of Mark ends at 18:8: three.

    Number of Greek manuscripts with the Shorter Ending, followed by 16:9-20 (accounting for damage): six.

    Number of Greek manuscripts with Mark 16:9-20, plus an interpolation between verse 14 and verse 15: one.

    Number of Greek manuscripts with Mark 16:9-20: over 1,640.

    "Is it preposterous that Mark deliberately ended his Gospel at 16:8?"

    After solidly foreshadowing a post-resurrection meeting? Yes; that's preposterous. Or, to use the word used by Hort back in 1881, "impossible."