What I’m Reading Today: Mark 15-16
When it comes to identifying my favorite version of “the Easter story”, I would have to say my favorite version is contained in the original text of the Gospel of Mark (by that I mean the version ending with Mark 16:8 that concludes by saying: “They [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] got out as fast as they could, beside themselves, their heads swimming. Stunned, they said nothing to anyone”).
My selection of this version would probably surprise folks on the theological right while my reason for choosing this version might unarm folks on the theological left. Let me tell you why I say that I’m an equal opportunity offender.
Some folks on the theological right would be surprised to hear I prefer the version of the Easter story that doesn’t give any evidence of Jesus’ resurrection since they assume the only value of the story lies in the supernatural raising of Jesus. “Without that,” they would argue, “the story has no value!”
Some folks on the theological left, on the other hand, might be disturbed with my reason for choosing Mark’s version of the story. Unlike some progressive folks who prefer Mark’s version because it places less importance upon the physical resurrection compared to the other Gospel accounts, I like Mark’s version because it preserves a sense of mystery associated with the Easter event. It doesn’t attempt to answer the question of what the resurrection means for you; it invites you to sit with unknown dimensions of what the event might mean. In other words, Mark’s version allows you to remain – well – stunned.
And that – at least for me – is the beauty of the upcoming Lenten and Easter season. It invites us to explore a faith that leaves room for mystery. Even more important from my vantage point, it invites me to have an experience – not simply rest in a conclusion. That is a rare thing these days when folks on either end of the theological spectrum seem to clamor for a conclusion.
My hope and prayer for you this Lent is that you will have an experience all your own – and that you may grow in your appreciation for the sense of mystery and wonder that grows out of the empty tomb.
Til next time…