This Sunday, the lectionary’s gospel reading for Easter is either John’s or Mark’s. I couldn’t resist going with Mark. He has that bizarre ending in verse 8: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” “They” refers to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome.
I realize that the claim that Mark ends his writing at verse 8—and doesn’t include the long ending with verses 9 to 20—still hasn’t received universal acceptance. Still, it seems to me that Mark’s version is especially suited for Holy Week. His telling of the Easter story still carries the dread—the fear—that Jesus and his disciples felt. The growing storm clouds of that week still haven’t dissipated. There’s a real visceral feel to it.
Since we have the other gospels to, so to speak, finish the story, I like Mark’s “unresolved” version. It reminds me to be cautious about too easily thinking we “have” Jesus. We should also be careful about quickly dismissing those who haven’t “got” the whole business of resurrection. Mark’s version of the Easter story reminds us that the story isn’t over: it’s a case of “to be continued.”