Easter is here, Jesus is risen. To properly celebrate we need to turn to the Easter stories in the Gospels.
A great example is the ending of the Gospel of Mark. You may notice (or remember) that in your Bible it has “other” endings to the Gospel, and we will get to that in a second, but here is our reading and the original ending to the Gospel of Mark:
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. (Mark 16:1-8)
You might understand now why other “endings” to Mark got circulated early on … I can imagine an early reading saying – “that is how you end the Gospel story and the resurrection of Jesus?”
Think about that last clause: “The (women) said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” THE END. Yikes, when read on its own that really is a weird way to end a Gospel. If you have read the rest of Mark, however, you know that people not talking about how amazing Jesus is just never quite works out that way. You know those women obviously DID tell EVERYONE they knew because we are celebrating Easter this very morning as a body of believers!
The ending of Mark is powerful because you, as a reader or listener, now have an active role – YOU must be the one to tell the story and the Good News of Jesus Christ to all that you encounter. Do not let the fear grip you and say nothing, because if you do … there is no more body of believers in the future.
How do we ensure that our children, grandchildren, community, world, etc., continue to celebrate Easter morning as celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ? We must each tell the story, you and I must say something, to everyone, because we are not afraid.
God, we thank you for the gift of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In our Easter celebrations may we remember to carry on the Gospel wherever we go. Give us the strength and courage we need to tell and remind us again to not be afraid. When we encounter the risen Christ in the least of these may we recognize our Lord and show the grace, justice, and mercy we have been given. We know Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection and our hope lies in your future. May we bring about your kingdom and continue the Gospel. Amen.