“They went out and fled from the tomb, trembling with fear and amazement. They told no one; for they were exceedingly afraid.”
-Mark 16: 8 (translation from Dr. Preston H. Epps)
He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice! Now that the stone has been rolled away and he who was crucified is now risen, the game has changed. And our world will never, ever be the same again!
When we sit with that fact—Christ risen from the dead—we begin to see just how absurd, how ridiculous this notion actually is. God has managed to take something as horrifying as the cross, managed to take something as mysterious and frightening as death, and has turned them into instruments of life. It seems to good to be true. And yet, it is. At least that is what our faith tells us.
We all know the story. We sing those glorious Alleluias in packed churches on the Sunday of the Resurrection, but then what? What are we supposed to do now that Easter has (seemingly) come and gone? Have we grown so accustomed to the story that it barely registers to us on days besides Easter (or maybe Christmas)? Maybe some of us realize just how incredible a notion the bodily resurrection of Jesus is and have decided that it could not possibly have been true. Or maybe some of us think that the story is over, that Jesus being raised is the end of God’s story and that there isn’t anything more for us to do.
This is clearly not what the author of the Gospel of Mark was thinking. Originally, the Gospel of Mark ended with no visuals of the resurrected Jesus. Years later, after both Matthew and Luke’s gospels had been recorded, two new endings were added to Mark. But initially, the ending of the First Gospel featured Jesus’ female disciples going to the tomb early in the morning, only to find it empty. An angel stands nearby and relays the message to them that Jesus has been raised. They run away, exceedingly afraid. And the gospel ends.
This seems a most appropriate ending for us here and now. Because we live in this world, the world of no resurrection accounts, no stories of the physical resurrected Jesus. We share this in common with the community of Mark’s gospel, which did not need proof of Jesus’ resurrection to understand the part that they were called to play in it, namely that it was their obligation to now spread the Good News of Jesus. In short, they knew that they were the Body of the Risen Christ, called to show the Risen Lord’s love and redemption to their broken world.
You and I are the Body here and now. We have been to the cross with Jesus, sat with him in the tomb, and beheld the glory of his resurrection this past Sunday. But what will we do now? How will we proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? How will we be Jesus to a broken and hurt world?
Easter is not the end of the story, it is the beginning. It is the beginning of everything. And you and I have a part to play in it. We are called to be Jesus to this world. The resurrected Christ is alive in you, and it is your obligation, just as it was to those women who beheld the empty tomb, to go into the world and spread the Good News of the Risen One. What does that look like? How will you share that Good News, that Gospel According to You?
Alleluia! Christ is risen. Now what are you going to do about it??