What would it mean to Harry Potter fans had J.K. Rowling stopped her series at the second book? Or, how would it play out had we not had the rest of the story in the Hunger Games Triology? Or, what would we make had there been only the first installment of, The Lord of the Rings?
We like our stories to end well. Ched Myers suggests the bracketed ending of the Gospel of Mark may reveal a long standing human interest in stories ending well. Leaving off at Mark 16:8, had you only Mark’s Gospel to go on, would require a second read to get to the aim of the way he tells the story of Jesus. Myers contends this may have been an addition with an imperial flair. It all works out, we even get to handle snakes.
But, what if the older manuscripts are correct and we had to deal with the end of Mark with three women running from the tomb, silent. Telling no one? Not that would force us to read Mark more closely and see just what he was up to along the way.
Here we are at Good Friday. We frame the Cross event in light of the Resurrection Easter morning. But, to do so in haste leaves us missing the Cross as a reflection of what we do to others when we choose power over peace and human flourishing.
Maybe Mark read on Good Friday and then Easter Sunday leaves us to live out the sequel, every day. Maybe the imagery of our own metaphorical death would be the location for the birth of God to show up in the midst of a world still torn by suffering of our own creation. Loving the world, and of course others, in Jesus’ Way may well be the sort of sequel that would get read.
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May you reflect deeply this Good Friday and faithfully live Resurrection in the world today.