In the Lectionary

April 1, Easter Sunday (Mark 16:1-8)

On Easter Sunday, we want to feel triumphant. Instead we get Mark 16.

There were always three Easter services. The first and the third were respectably attended. But the middle one—that was always packed, the large sanctuary filled with people and sound. There was a procession with cross and torches and choir and book, and it was all very grand and inspiring.

One woman always claimed her spot, carrying the cross at the middle service on Easter morning. She would serve at another service if she was needed, but she had to be at the middle service too because, as she would say, “Now it’s Easter!” It wasn’t that the other two services weren’t really Easter. But she felt it at the second service, the triumph of the resurrection. I can still see her eyes as she stood at the top of the chancel steps with the cross held high. Now it’s Easter. He is risen indeed!

I want to go to church on Easter Sunday and experience the triumph of the resurrection. But if that’s what the day is about, why would I ever want to hear the resurrection story from Mark? There are just eight verses, and though there is a proclamation—the angel announces the resurrection of Jesus—he never appears, at least not in the original eight verses. And, to add insult to injury, the women who hear the news flee in terror and say nothing.