At the end of the preceding chapter, Mark tells us that, when Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid. In verse 1 of Chapter 16, it is again Mary Magdalene, but with Mary the mother of James and Salome, who bring spices to anoint Jesus’ body. They had expected the tombstone that Joseph had put at the entrance to the tomb to still be there, but it had been rolled back, and a young man was sitting there telling them that Jesus had been raised from death, and would meet them in Galilee. They fled from the tomb and said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.
Richard Rohr, in his beautiful little book “Everything Belongs” (Crossroads Publishing 2003), tells us that, in order to experience the reality of God, we need to be drawn out of ‘business as usual’ into liminality or “crazy time”. We’re drawn out of an old reality into a new one. In sacred space, the old world falls apart in order for a new world to be revealed, and fear is part of this experience. At first, like Mary who thought Jesus was the gardener, in our confusion we do not make the connection or recognise Jesus’ presence.
In Mark 16:1-8, we are given a pathway to a deeper experience of God – God in human form as shown to us in Jesus. In God’s kingdom everything belongs, even the broken, confused and fear-full parts. We become part of God’s story as God, shown to us in human and broken form, becomes part of ours. And with God, shown to us in Jesus, resurrection and new life is always a possibility and a choice.
Rev Adelene Mills