Daily Devotion 09 April 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Mark 16:1-7 ‘Approaching the Tomb’

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’

When we read of the various gospel accounts of the resurrection of Christ it is immediately apparent that they give different accounts of to whom Jesus appeared and the reaction of the disciples. Mark’s is a good case in point.

It is interesting that there is a debate whether the passage above forms part of an ending of the gospel which preceded the original ending. If we read verse 8, after the passage above, we are given the impression that the women left the tomb saying nothing to anyone because they were afraid. Scribes may have felt that perhaps the real ending of the gospel had been lost. So, without the addition of verses 9-20 which appeared in some later manuscripts (and possibly even written by someone other than Mark) we would have been left in suspense, as if we are to make up our own minds about what happened after the women ran from the tomb.  A young man, (maybe an angel) in a white robe had told the women ‘Don’t be alarmed…he has been raised; he is not here’. Presumably they did not believe him or maybe they were afraid of how the people were going to react? Mark records the disciples’ lack of faith and yet Matthew’s gospel says the women were full of joy. Luke and John both record the disciples’ confusion and wonder – but also joy as they came to realise Jesus was alive, though John tells us that ‘doubting Thomas’ did not believe, as he was not there, until he saw Jesus for himself. Very different accounts indeed!

Recently, individuals marked one year of the first lockdown of the pandemic in very different ways, depending on how we have all been affected. This image shows the beautiful cross in the nave of Winchester Cathedral, made of grasses and flowers – a powerful but silent tribute for those of all faiths or none. I believe that whilst we mourn the deaths of many and the effect it has had on many lives, we can rejoice at the communities that pulled together, neighbours we have got to know and the many key workers and others that have helped us and whom we have helped.

Prayer:

Loving God who raised your Son Jesus Christ
to offer to all new life,
show us how the power of resurrection can be shown in us,
to radiate to those with whom we meet in daily life.
Raise us and all those amidst defeat and despair in the world,
offering new hope and new life that only you can bring. In Jesus name. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Matthew Earl.
Image freely available online.

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