the morning when she finds the tomb empty leaps from her the way the first spry geyser sprang from the Titanic. She bangs her knee and ducks to look again. Her adviser, John, warned her it was dangerous to come. Holed up behind locked doors, the gang of guys who claimed to love him. She runs her thumb across the ledge where his dead body lies.
Or rather doesn’t. Her heart’s a cypress forming a final growth ring, final grief: his body gone, his lithe hand, the small scar from the sharp chisel. To what can she say yes? Who is she now? Where to put belief? Her cry gashes the fragile morning air.
About a week after my mother-in-law died, I went by her house to borrow her sieve. Every year, my daughter and I borrow grandma’s sieve to make applesauce. Then we take some applesauce back to her. I was hoping the sieve was still there. I knew my mother-in-law was gone, but I wanted to find the sieve. Maybe it was still in the house.
You may recall that this
ending of the Gospel of Mark, the one that appears in the most ancient
manuscripts of the book, seemed too abrupt to later copyists. Before long, 11
more verses had found their way there, a busy digest of post-resurrection
experiences from a variety of sources: John's account of the scene at the tomb
with Mary Magdalene, John's story of Thomas the doubter, a version of the walk
to Emmaus, an account of Jesus' ascension, other material from Luke/Acts. These
are entered almost as bullet points.
But the tacked-on verses need
not concern us here--the Revised Common Lectionary walks away from them
politely. We are left with the bald confusion and fear at the end of the
ancient tale, from a time before it was canonized and liturgized.