Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Mark 16:8 (NIV)
Reading is one of Wendy’s true loves, and she doesn’t get to enjoy it nearly as often as she would like. It made me happy this past Saturday afternoon at the lake when I watched her plop down in a chair with her book. When I fell asleep that night, she was next to me in bed still reading. It came as no surprise when she informed me the following morning that she finished the book before she went to sleep. When she was a child, she never wanted to put a book down because she was afraid that the story would proceed without her. I love that her inner-child still clings to that notion.
I love an ending that leaves me thinking and pondering where the story goes after the movie, the play, or the book is finished. It stirs the Creator spirit within me. It’s why I love that Marvel movies almost always offer a “teaser” after the credits have rolled. Wendy and I exit the theatre talking about where the larger story arc is going in movies still being written and produced.
Today’s chapter is the end of Mark’s biography of Jesus, and it has its own back story. Most scholars agree that verses 9-20 were not originally written by Mark. The oldest and most reliable manuscripts end after verse eight, and verses 9-20 don’t fit the voice of Mark’s writing style.
Admittedly, ending the story with the ladies hearing the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ resurrection and being afraid to say anything seems an odd way to simply end the story. It makes total sense to me that some well-meaning scribe (probably an Enneagram Type One) decided that it needed a better ending that would tie-up the loose ends and “complete” the story.Yet, the more I meditated on it this morning the more I love Mark’s ending.
First of all, there’s the irony. Multiple times in Mark’s version of events he has recorded Jesus telling people not to tell anyone about the miracle they’ve experienced, and in every case the person immediately starts to blab it. Now, the narrative ends with the ladies being told to go tell Peter and the boys about the most miraculous event in history and they clam up.
I also love that Mark ends the story like a Marvel teaser. The story is left hanging out there, and I as the reader have to choose what I do with it. Do I pursue the story or abandon it? Do I ask more questions or reach for Grisham’s newest yarn? Do I seek out the larger story arc and what happens next? Do I go knocking at the opportunity to interact with the story myself?
I accepted Mark’s “invitation” many years ago. Like Wendy, I didn’t want the story to proceed with out me. In the quiet this morning, I find myself accepting the invitation again.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.