St Matthews Digital
04 April 2021
Breaking the Silence
Helen Jacobi unpacks the Mark version of the Easter story
Rev Helen Jacobi
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Breaking the Silence
Any writer of novels or films or scripts for films will tell you how important endings are and we, the readers and the viewers know that. And the old days of one episode per week, television, the ending had to make, you want to wait and come back for more next week. Remember that? And even on Netflix now we still have to want to press play for the next episode and we know how disappointed we are. If an ending doesn't seem to kind of tie.
All those loose ends. Well, Mark the gospel writer, didn't go to the class on how to write, good endings, his gospel ends and the middle of a sentence. If you kind of translate it in order from the Greek, it says the woman went out from the tomb for Terror and amazement had seized them and they said nothing to anyone. They were afraid.
And it stops at ends with a preposition, the most important story of the Christian faith, just stops and leaves us all hanging.
But we know how it ends, right? Like, the children's version of the story. We just read the disciples. See the Risen Jesus, right? He eats fish with them on the beach. They talked to him, they touch him.
Well, not in Mark's gospel.
Right Alomar. Williamson says winners, an ending not an end. When a dead man rises from the tomb and when a gospel ends and the middle of a sentence, Several ancient versions of the Gospel exist. That attempt to fix this Anomaly by adding another ending and if you look up an online Bible or go home and find a Bible on your shelf and look up. Mark, you'll probably find three different endings for Mark.
The so-called longer ending of Mark has an appearance to Mary Magdalene like in John's gospel, a short description of the Emmaus story like and Luke and a command to go into all the world like the way Matthew ends, his gospel.
But the style of writing is so different. You can tell even in the English that they were added later by another hand, someone who wanted to make Mark's gospel sound like the others someone who wanted a more positive ending. There was some editor who was saying we can't have this, we need a conclusion, we need to wrap this up so that we can bring up the background music. Roll the credits and leaves the people with a good feeling about it. We can't have, they said nothing to anyone.
One for they were afraid.
And in the other year, I would probably say that it's hard for us to relate back to the fear and uncertainty of that first Easter day.
We've got centuries of Theology of paintings of music of films, which somewhat sanitized the Easter picture and make it full of happy images with those fluffy chicks that creep in.
But this year, we have had plenty of fear and plenty of uncertainty swirling around us.
The Shroud that Isaiah describes has well and truly covered us. We don't know how our worlds covid story is going to end. We can't make any plans, really? We're hoping for a better ending but we can't be sure.
So maybe we can relate very well to this gospel, with no ending or an ending. That's only fear and silence.
Feminist writers. Always remind us that in the other gospels. It's the women who first spread the good news of Jesus. Resurrection. But with Mark, even the women are silenced or have not yet found their voice.
This in a way is typical of Mark's gospel. The disciples are never Heroes. They never understand who Jesus is.
Nobody really gets it.
And marks account is very real. Of course, the women would have been terrified. Most of the other disciples were already hidden, their teacher, and leader had been brutally killed for all. They knew they could be next.
And yet out of love for Jesus, the women went to the tomb to 10 the body as was their custom.
It had not been bathed and anointed properly and they wanted to complete their tasks.
But to their horror, even this last dignity is taken from them. The body is gone.
This year, hundreds of thousands or millions of families across our world and some here in aotearoa have had to forego the last moments with a loved one and being able to hold proper funerals.
So each of those people, I think can relate to the sorrow of the women, finding the body gone.
There was an angel at the tomb who talked to them but seeing an angel doesn't really help. It's just one more thing to make you scared.
On Good Friday. I always feel that our only response when confronted with the crucifixion of Jesus as silence. We left wordless in the face of the pain and The Forsaken asst of it all. But on Easter day, we come expecting joy and song, not silence.
But Mark gives us silence again.
How often I wonder do, we find ourselves silent silent when we have good news to share or silent when we have fears to share.
Silent about the things we really want to do or say or silent about our dreams because we're worried other people might think them silly or silent about our hopes because we're worried no one else will share the same hope.
Who are we silenced? Silenced by a bully at work? Or school silenced. By lack of money or skill. Silenced by poverty or illness?
Silenced by an abuse of power.
silenced or perhaps just Paralyzed by the uncertainty that covid brings over recent months. We've heard from another group of people who have long been silenced.
The Royal Commission on abuse in care, has heard many stories of those abused, over the decades, in our churches, our church institutions, and church schools.
The stories are harrowing and deeply shameful for our church and what is even more shameful as the lack of appropriate response over decades and up till even quite recently at last. Now, with the help of the royal commission that is changing, but there is still more work to be done.
We have to make certain that no one is ever silenced again.
We don't know how the women of Mark's gospel found their voice, but I'm guessing it was something to do with remembering how much Jesus loved them and they him and thinking about the Angels, instructions to go and tell and remembering many of the confusing things, he had taught them about the first being last and losing your life to find it.
And about the poor being blessed.
And then finding themselves maybe with a seed of Hope which said, maybe maybe he has come back to us.
Even though Mark's gospel end. So abruptly. I think maybe he knew that was where everyone else's story would pick up and continue and by not giving us the script not giving us the next part of the story. The next part of the story is ours, for our time and our context, what we do with the Jesus story is the next chapter.
If you were to find your voice this Easter Day, what story will you choose to tell?
The woman eventually told what they had seen that first Easter day and empty tomb, and the hope that Jesus had brought them and life was also real in death.
What hope can we add to the story today?
Can we claim it? Can we claim Life and Love, and Hope in our covid world of so much uncertainty and so much loss. Can we claim Life and Love and Hope even when we hear terrible stories of abuse told to us?
for even when we experience the abuse, The prophet Isaiah said that God will destroy the Shroud that is cast Over the nation's wiping away, tears and disgrace.
But God doesn't wave a magic wand to do this.
God instead brings us Jesus, who suffered?
Gordon brings us the empty tomb. God brings us the women who were Witnesses and who eventually found their voice and were no longer silent.
God invites, you and me to finish the story to provide the ending of this episode and the beginning of another one, as we walk the way of Jesus, the Risen one,