Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter Monday: There is no proof but us


Opening day begins with sunny hope. Mild temperatures. Yankees, Red Sox. Yankee Stadium. My friend John, die hard Red Sox Nation, up from Atlantic City. The friendly taunting banter of Yankee fans on the subway. The long afternoon ends with swirling winds and cold rain, trash dancing on the field among the players as last year’s Pirate closer Hanrahan mops up the badly battered Yankees and their spring training lineup in a nearly empty stadium. I try not to see this as an ominous metaphor.

Rachelle is here. Asking me to get a van so she can move her things. Surely I must have a car, find a car....she’s off to one last seder in Borough Park. She introduces me to a new woman. Sheila. An Orthodox Jew. And born again Christian.

Monday night Bible Study. Mark’s account of the resurrection.(16:1-8) The end of his Gospel and our many months long line by line journey begun in the wake of Sekou and West. 

What do we find?
  • Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother Mary go to do what Joseph of Arimathea did not. Give Jesus a proper burial. 
    • Excursis: Jesus’ sister named Salome? Like the daughter of Herod’s wife who danced for him? Got the head of John the Baptist? What’s up? Well, no issue, they’d be contemporaries. Still....
      • Cara wants to know more. And so I remember Lauren singing the role with the San Francisco Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas. Chills running down my spine. The bartender in New Orleans with the full Aubrey Beardsley illustration, John’s head on a platter and all, running down her arm. Impressed that I could recognize it. Cara asks Seven veils? And I say, no that’s Oscar Wilde, not the Bible. And Richard Strauss. And Aubrey Beardsley...Different Salome.
  • They’re expecting to find the stone still there. It’s gone.
  • Inside, they find a young man, sitting on the right, where the disciples wanted to be, in  a white robe. 
    • Is this the one who ran naked from the garden? Leaving a linen cloth. The one that was wrapped around Jesus? Now in a dazzling white robe, like Jesus at the transfiguration. The clothes of a martyr. Transformed from exposure, shame, humiliation to glory.
    • He has a message: you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth ( disciples sought Jesus, like those who were needy sought Jesus, like the authorities were seeking Jesus...the ones who don’t understand who he is, always seeking...)
      • He has been raised. Same word as in Jesus’ healing stories. He didn’t do it himself. Raised by an external force. Like God?
    • Tell my disciples...and Peter..In his betrayal, Peter not only betrayed Jesus but the disciples as well. He had separated himself from them....
    • He is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will meet him, just as he told you....
      • Galilee, where it all began
  • But they fled, filled with terror and amazement...
  • They said nothing to anyone....why? They were never silent before...
    • For they were afraid....And that’s the end of Mark...what? Well, someone must have said something to someone or we wouldn’t be here now. They were afraid....and that’s it...even an ellipsis....they were afraid...what a way to halos, no radiant appearance, 
What do we take from this?
  • Going back to Galilee says it starts all over again. Go back to the beginning. Begin again. The discipleship project continues. We start over again.
  • The  women, the  last to leave, the last to stay faithful, dead or alive, didn’t matter, are the first witnesses. A radical change, witnesses from the margins...yes, women.
  • Those other passages, the other endings, were written by a community that needed a happy  ending. The restoration of a male  dominated order. Peter’s rehab.     
    • Once in San Jose, Costa Rica, theologian Pablo Richard said to us, My problem with North American Christians is that you want to get too quickly to the happy ending. We must fully experience life in all it’s paradox, it's  perplexity but most  of all, it's  profound beauty.                                                                                                                                                     
  • In Mark, the resurrection is not an answer but a question. Will you go to Galilee? Will you enter the story?
  • Marsha sees it.Then Hope. Then all of this Gospel, no risen Christ walking around. No pronouncements. No visual images. The only proof is us. If we are willing to step on the road. Live out the arc of our lives, not fearing death, following to where it will lead...There is no proof but us....

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