Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Resurrection of the Lord (B), April 1, 2018 - John 20:1-18, and Mark 16:1-8

Hi Qi: Do Not Hold On To Me

The Bottom Line

When Mary ran to tell the news he was not there,
And others' racing speeds by John were then compared,
One wonders why this hurry is so big a deal,
Unless the rush to know makes Easter less genteel!
They ran! They looked! And then went home, no doubt, upset
At one more insult, one more cause for deep regret.

But Mary stayed, perhaps she'd run, as well, and stopped
Outside the tomb, where running tears at gravesite dropped.
Remember how she'd cried with joy at Jesus' feet,
Because her life had changed from bitterness to sweet?
But now, her world and all she loved turned upside down,
She weeps in vain attempt to make her sorrows drown.

But then she looks. One wonders why. And suddenly, instead
Of empty tomb, sit angels where'd lain foot and head!
And then that gardener! And all ask why she weeps!
Good grief! Where have you been? Have you all been asleep?
Is what I'd ask; but Mary cooly wants to know
The whereabouts of his remains, who made her glow.

And at her spoken name, she turns, and says his, too;
And this, perhaps, is key to knowing him anew;
For not in running after, not in looking for
Him in the Gospels, or in fervent prayer galore;
But he will call your name, and you will finally see
That he still means it when he says to "Follow me."

Scott L. Barton

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

+  +  +

Mark 16:1-8

(Here's another bulletin cover (front and back) from my pastor from many years ago, 
Richard  L. Manzelmann, at New Hartford, New York Presbyterian Church.
I borrowed it to use in a couple of congregations over the years. 
It's also nice just copied on a copier in black, on a heavy bright yellow paper.)

Conjunction, Junction, What's Your Function?
"Ephobounto gar" it ends,
As strange an ending you'll find anywhere,
But take Mark at his word, who sends
Us back to Galilee to find him there;
I mean, the "for" connects us to
The start, because the women did not go;
They were afraid and told no one,
But Mark still has the Lord to us to show.
It's where he started out, Mark says,
Go back to the beginning, chapter one;
You'll find him where they found him then,
Now, this time, put yourself where he'd begun;
Pretend you're one of them who saw
Him by the Sea of Galilee pass by,
Pretend he calls - what do you do?
Does he, for you, move earth and sky?
Pretend in synagogue you hear him teach,
An honest preacher tells the truth!
Pretend he makes someone you love brand new,
Your hope is as it was in youth.
No resurrection scene does Mark present,
Instead, He'll meet you where you are,
Not at his tomb, but where you walk in life,
Not way back when, but here.
Not far.

Scott L. Barton

(In The Christian Century, April 4, 2006, Tom Long wrote about the awkward, "dangling" original ending of Mark, translated literally, “To no one anything they said; afraid they were for." That may very well have been intended to send us back to the beginning of the Gospel. The poem's title comes from the old PBS children's show, Schoolhouse Rock. Thanks to my daughter, Leah Barton, for remembering this phrase. 

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they 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.

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