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From Your Synod Executive...

Happy Easter!  Did any of you happen to hear (or to preach) a sermon on Mark 16:1-8 on Sunday?  It’s often called the “Short Ending of Mark” and most scholars think it was how Mark originally ended his Gospel:  “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.  They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”


It's shocking, right?  Such a weird ending to the amazing story of Jesus’ resurrection! So odd, in fact, that most scholars believe that scribes wanted to clear up the weirdness by adding Mark 9-20 in the generations afterward.


Let’s stick, though, with the short ending.  The women have come to the tomb, wondering who will roll away the stone.  They meet a young man dressed in white (presumably an angel) who tells them that Jesus has risen and that they should go and tell his disciples!  Instead, they flee, trembling and bewildered.


It’s not peculiar to me that they are trembling and bewildered.  And it’s not even that unusual that the passage tells us that they didn’t say anything to anyone.  When your expectations are turned upside down, it takes a while to make sense of everything.


The weirdest thing to me is that they actually must have told others.  Mark doesn’t say they do—he says they’re scared.  But if they didn’t tell anyone else, how would the church have ever formed?  How would the Gospel have ever spread from that empty tomb all the way to our neighborhoods today?  Without a doubt, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome overcame their fear, and spread the word that Jesus Christ has conquered death and given hope!


These women are not the only ones who need to overcome their fear to talk about the hope of the Gospel.  Presbyterians are notoriously slow to articulate our faith.  In fact, the denomination conducts a congregational survey about all sorts of types of ministries that churches and individuals can offer, and actually opening our mouths and saying something about Jesus almost always comes in last among these ministries.


The power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us, today! (Romans 8:11)  God’s perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)  How can you overcome your reluctance and articulate your faith in our risen Lord some time this month?


Your partner in ministry,



Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD  



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