Text: 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. – Mark 16:8 (NRSV) “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me.” – Matthew 28:10 (NRSV)
There seems to be some different versions of the same story. This is common, but it can be alarming when the story they are telling is the most pivotal important story to our faith. The resurrection. In Mark, they did what after they saw the empty tomb? They just ran away and were afraid? Then what happens? There’s got to be a sequel in the works for that one. What about Matthew’s version? It doesn’t give much detail, just a vague promise: “there they will see me.” So if this is the end of the story of Jesus, what are we to believe? What ending do we hang our hat on?
That’s just it. There’s so much vague variety in the endings because the authors are all telling us, the end is just not here yet. Jesus is still saving and shaping lives. The authors are inviting us to keep writing our own ending. Story by story, life by life. We write our own post-Easter stories when we are able to see good past darkness. Take the restaurant owner who poured his blood sweat and tears into a business that couldn’t withstand the current shutdown. He is forced to close the business. Is that the end to his story? What about Matthew’s promise: “there they will see me.” What if this defeated restaurant owner finds new opportunity in a venture he would’ve never dreamed of? You may think, she’s just being a naïve pastor. This is bad, and it’s going to get worse. It might. But it doesn’t mean it’s the end. Living in Ann Arbor I see that there are new endings every time I watch one of those “boobers” the bike taxis make their way around town. That business was opened by a recovering addict, who when he thought it was the end, saw new hope, gathered himself with a supportive community and launched this bike taxi service. He now seeks out other recovering addicts to hire and teaches them new budgeting skills, life planning skills, and how to be a healthy supportive community together. Even when it seems like the end, we hear a promise, “there they will see me.” During this post-easter time, when few of us likely feel the full gift of new possibility and new life, remember that our resurrection stories are still being written. It is not the end. Even in this pandemic. Jesus is still promising that we will see him. So let’s open our eyes to find him in our midst and to participate in our own resurrection story.
Focus: End is not yet here; possibility
Prayer: Thank you for leaving the story unwritten. Thank you that the end is not here, not yet. Help us to see you in our midst and grant us courage in our fear. Amen.