PRAYING AND REFLECTING IN PANDEMIC EASTERTIDE
TUESDAY OF EASTER WEEK
MARK 16:1-8 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise,
they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other,
“Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large,
had been rolled away.
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe
sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
"Do not be afraid" he said:
“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.
He has risen! He is not here.
See the place where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter,
‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.
There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone,
because they were afraid.
Originally. the Gospel of Mark ended abruptly
at chapter 16 verse 8.
Long build-up, through trial and crucifixion,
a short paragraph about the resurrection
ending with -“and they said nothing to anyone,
for they were afraid”
There are further verses,
but not by the same author:
the style and language is, apparently, different.
Why? Was he arrested in mid-sentence?
Did he die at this point, as he was writing?
Was the ending lost or destroyed?
No surprise that the women who came to anoint the body
were afraid when they found the tomb empty.
But the women were silent.
They were afraid.
How could they be otherwise?
The news of resurrection is startling.
Blessed be you, O Living One,
to whose tomb came women
spice-bearing, to embalm your body
and fund you risen
adding spice to all our lives.
Blessed be you, O Fragrant One.
Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone,
but let me find the grasp of your hand
in my failure.
Christ, who appeared to your disciples
when the doors were shut;
appear unto all in the world today
who live their lives behind closed doors.
Lord, I rejoice that nothing
can come between me and your love,
even when I feel alone or in difficulty,
when in sickness or am troubled.
Even if attacked or afraid,
‘no abyss of mine is so deep
that your love is not deeper still’.
Lord, you have experienced many hells of this world
but descended, so that you can lift us up.
Be always near. (Fr.Nicholas Henderson and Corrie Ten Boom)
O God our protector,
by whose mercy the world turns safely into darkness
and returns again to light:
we give into your hands our unfinished tasks,
our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes;
for you alone are our sure defence
and bring us lasting peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.