Mk16v1-2 Jesus dies suddenly and is buried hastily, he is whisked off the table so quickly, that for a slow motion moment the tower of cards hovers in midair. What must that Sabbath have been like for the disciples? Muffled agony trembling in bass frequencies, tear-drops levitating under zero gravity, an overcast universe on pause holding its breath in mute suspension goo.gl/X0479u. Now, a sleepless night screams into morning, in a crescendo of tinnitus as the reality of gravity resumes, and they plummet headlong, free-falling into the stages of grief. Denial. Anger. Bargaining.. Salome, Mary, Mary a fluster flock of lucid panic rising on instinct, shopping on impulse, scrabbling for contact in this new unmoored delirium, a fantasy in which there-is-no-stone to roll away any more than there is anything concrete to lean on in a world devoided of Christ.
Mk16v3-4 a metaphor in the face. So much time angsting worrying scheming about the big ol' rock, how I'm going to shift it alone, or maybe trying to pay, plead or manipulate others to move it for me. And yet. It was gone before I knew it. Resurrection already. He did it. He is Risen, and therefore, so are you. Col2v20 3v1 you have been raised to life with Christ. You already have been. So 2Pt1v3 you have everything you need. Resurrection already.
Mk16v5-6 A Young Man. Reverse entropy personified, but not like Benjamin Button. Rather, as Ransom in That Hideous Strength, "Jane looked; and instantly her world was unmade. On a sofa before her, with one foot bandaged .. lay what appeared to be a boy. .. All the light in the room seemed to run towards the gold hair and the gold beard of the wounded man. Of course he was not a boy .. the fresh skin on his cheeks and hands had suggested the idea. But no boy could have so full a beard. And no boy could be so strong .. imagination suggested that those arms and shoulders could support the whole house. .. How could she have thought him young? Or old either? It came over her that this face was of no age at all. .. [She] imagined Solomon too .. the bright solar blend of king and lover and magician which hangs about that name .. she tasted the word King itself with all its linked associations of battle, marriage, priesthood, mercy, and power." Christianity is such an unsettling worldview.
Mk16v7-8 He is going to Galilee ahead of you. Ahead of you, as Mk14v27-28, it bears repeating. While I fled him / down the nights and down the days / the arches of the years / the labyrinthine ways / of my own mind; and in the midst of tears / And even when told the good news, I still run from the tomb 'distressed and terrified'. But he is ahead, preveniently grace-giving, resurrection already.
Mk16v9-10 Mary sees the risen Jesus, as if he were a Thestral, as if past lives give to some the eyes to see. What were you once? (1Co6v11) What do you see? (Je1v11, v13 etc) What spirits have you entertained, willingly or unconsciously? How are you now able to describe and explain the world's brokenness, viscerally? Mary had hosted and even been colonised by, demons. How long must she have spent intimately engaged with death's own workforce, in a madness of morbid fascination fixated on death and in conversation with Death himself, for death is a person ~ Rv6v8 Rm5v14 1Co15v26,v55. And where are you? In Mk5v3 another demonised one lives amongst the tombs, as if there really is a place, an architecture, a genius loci to demonisation. In that very habitat of death so beloved by demons, she sees the risen Jesus, Jesus shows himself to her. What were you once? What do you see?
Mk16v11-12 It's hardest to believe not simply where empirical evidence is lacking, but where your heart has been broken.
Mk16v13-14 Disbelief: This my excavation, and today is Qumran. Everything that happens is from now on. ~ What do you disbelieve? Who do you disbelieve? Christianity is a story told by story-tellers, fallible story-tellers to fallible story-tellees ~ it is a fraught form. Christianity is not an invitation to credulity, but. Christianity is a conviction in an implausible claim. How do you but disbelieve? Believing comes by hearing Rm10v17. But how? How to discern signal from noise? How to unwound calloused ears hardened of hearing unfulfilled saving claims? 1Th5v20 counsels, ear-protection is easily done, prophecy is easily despised, diffused and held in contempt. Eph4v11 suggests it takes a village of voices to assuage the beguiled, witness needs multipersonal meaning makers, an epistemological community. Christ is his own witness, and/but we qua we-as-collective are his body Eph4v12, and qua body are able to discern signal in the wind, the waves, the pouring rain, the paralysed Eph4v14.
Mk16v15-16 Preach ~kérusso, to be a herald, to proclaim. Syn: harbinger, sign, indicator, indication, signal, prelude, portent, omen, augury, forewarning, presage, announcer. Be so ontological existentially transfigured that you yourself are a sign, of the salvation of God, of the hope oc non-condemnation. Show, demonstrate, embody, proclaim to all creation that God is real and good, and thus that the world can be a safe and substantial place to be.
Mk16v17-18 Bullet-proof Disciples 2.0 Die Harder, Faster, Better and Stronger. Now. You Can Walk On Water goo.gl/f6A7XT These verses are a macho summons to a derring-do Christianity of the outdoors, as Mounier's virile and plebian faith, with an electric and unsuperstitious sense of the possible that borders on arrogant entitlement. More alarming than any of the snakes is the idea that God might choose to use me, despite and precisely to spite my self-pity. What unjust election, what terrifying responsibility, if I can do anything, then everything should be done. Yes. Yes but. It is still not-about-me. It is God's doing to do. Who is God? God is more-than, his gospel is more-than, and he will call you to nothing that is not more-than you could do without him. God, I am a timid man, grant me your eyes by faith to see more-than, your hands by faith to heal more-than and your tongues by faith to speak more-than boldly about a faith which is not-about-me but more-than. Now, more than ever.
Mk16v19-20 Last night we looked at how Jn6v52 we're often so quick to take Jesus' words with a small-minded literalism which misses the point. I reflect this morning on how I do often take this kind of 3-tiered language literally, and that it matters, not nerely as a philosophical snobbery, but because when I think of God as quasi-literally on a throne I make Him small, finite, tidy, manageable. There is a bigger truth here. I know we know this but I I feel the need to preach this to myself again. I often imagine the trinity as three finite blobs, and this seeps into the way I talk to God, to what I believe is possible. We must speak of God, we must use the metaphors of bread & thrones & ascending, and then we must use more metaphors which break the first ones apart, not as deconstruction but as depth, as the more-than-this. We must be apophatic and not apophatic, we must pray for the enlargement of our imaginations. This seems like the right prayer to pray as we close our reading of this gospel: thank you for your words, oh God, transfigure our imagination that we may see into the words, into your depths, & to herald your depth to all creation, amen.