We strive to know Christ more deeply and bring others to his redeeming grace.
ST. BEDE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
1609 Elm St. Forest Grove, OR
MESSAGE FROM OUR VICAR
By The Rev'd Marlene Mutchler, Vicar
“As [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome]
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 16:5-8 (NRSV).
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
This passage from Mark, which will be read at our Easter Vigil this year is part of the shortened version of Mark. In shortened versions the book of Mark ends right here with the three women clammed up in fear. Other versions of this passage continue the story and show Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene, and then Mary tries to tell the other disciples who are mourning his death but they don’t believe her. Why don’t they believe her? Maybe Jesus’ resurrection sounds too good to be true. Many of them had witnessed the crucifixion and were familiar with the finality of death. And this was a woman. In context of that time, the testimony of a woman was considered invalid and could not be used in a court of law. It is not only the women’s testimony that is in question here but also which ending of the Gospel According to Mark to rely on. If it were to end here, we would have no communication of the good news of Christ’s resurrection, at least not from Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome because they were afraid. Anxiety is also a factor in telling and accepting good news.
Wade sent me a New York Times article recently that measured the degree to which the media is under reporting good news particularly about the coronavirus. There may be many reasons for not reporting positive news. The article suggests that the media are merely telling people what they want to hear and since enlarged news consumption increases the value of their syndication, news agencies follow the money. So we consumers are afraid and apparently choose to consume stories that confirm our narratives of fear. Because we choose these narratives, we drive up demand for the same kinds of stories which we listen to and which make us more afraid.
We have another story to which we must begin paying attention. The good news of our Christian story is that Christ is risen from the dead! Death no longer has dominion over us. Christ is victor over sin and death. We are freed from our bonds. As the young man told the women, “Do not be alarmed!” Share this good news. Live this good news. Trust it as the truest story above all others.
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!