"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter 2018: "Talk about Terrified...."

The gospel lectionary this year is the end of Mark.  It's an end more in line with "Jesus Christ Superstar," oddly enough, and a personal favorite because it is the earliest version of the Easter story we have in the canon; and because it ends in the garden.  My favorite translation catches the intensity of the narrative as well as any in English:

And when the sabbath day was over, Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so they could go and embalm him. And very early on the first day of the week they got to the tomb just as the sun was coming up. And they had been asking themselves, "Who will help us roll the stone away from the opening of the tomb?" Then they look up and discover that the stone has been rolled away! (For in fact the stone was very large.)And when they went into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a white robe, and they grew apprehensive.  He says to them, "Don't be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He was raised, he is not here! Look at the spot where they put him! But go and tell his disciples, including 'Rock,' he is going ahead of you to Galilee! There you will see him, just as he told you."And once they got outside, they ran away from the tomb, because great fear and excitement got the better of them. And they didn't breathe a word of it to anyone: talk about terrified. . .(Mark 16:1-8, SV)

Which is, let's face it, pretty much how we would all feel.  Sorrow, terror, and joy, in one passage; that is worth reflecting on, and even rejoicing over.

Even on April Fool's Day.


Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

But it's not how they felt about it in the coming months or years.

It's a good point to consider, how it must have scared them, like when they were first afraid that the risen Jesus was a ghost.

It's the rich detail in things like that which gives the accounts the feeling of more than just story telling. Lots of it certainly wasn't complementary to the ones who experienced it. I wonder if it might not be some of the most realistic literary depiction of poor people around at the time.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

No, after that there was the Emmaus experience, even the stories John tells.

I'm fascinated by the gospel of Mark because it cuts off with that terror. There are two endings, both thought to have been added later, as well as a "Secret Mark" passage which is downright Gnostic (and sexual) that is way to Greek to have been part of the original of a Hebrew (Jews actually came along after 70 C.E., with the fall of the temple and the rise of the synagogue; their ancestors are the Pharisees, in fact) writer's tale.

Interesting stories of transmission there, but I don't doubt the stories of wonder, terror, and joy. We come so long after that, it's good to try to recover some of it now and again.

5:14 PM  

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