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Fear

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. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 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. 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.” 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. (Mark 16:1-8, NRSV)

I always loved this ending to Mark. Scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark originally ended here with verse 16:8. But people didn’t like the fact that the gospel ended with the women fleeing from the tomb and not telling anyone what they had seen. But here is what they missed.

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And the end where the women flee in terror is not the end, but the end of the writing. You see as long as we believe the story, it is still being written. The gospel has not ended, the good news is still being told.

We are all gripped by fear, but Jesus is still living and active in our world, and we can keep writing the Gospel and sharing the story.

So don’t let fear seize you in terror, but go and shout it from the mountaintops that Jesus Christ is Alive and working in your life, and show His love, grace, and mercy in all that you do!

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persevere

161128When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birthpangs. “Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14, NRSV)

“Beware for others will come and say they are me and will try to lead you astray'” Jesus told those gathered…

All of these things you think are ushering in the end of the world are merely the beginning of the end.

But follow Jesus and know that no matter what comes, He will see us through. He will guide us, and all things are possible with Him.

Stick with Jesus and know that He will help you persevere.

 

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The beginning…

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. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 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. 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.” 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. (Mark 16:1-8, NRSV)

This is the end to the gospel of Mark. Now if you look in your Bible you will see more to verse 8 that is in [ ] and verses 9 – 20 of chapter 16. Most scholars believe the bracketed text and everything after was added later.

And the reason someone added it is because the women would not run away from the tomb in fear! Jesus was alive, someone had to tell the good news even if it was women!

We can’t take that as the ending of the gospel. Jesus rising is too good of news to leave no one knowing.

But see here is the kicker, even verse 20 is not the end of the Gospel of Mark!

Mark begins: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” and the women leaving the tomb wordless, is not the end, but a step.

You see you are continuing the gospel of Mark! We are still sharing the story.

Alleluia Christ is Risen! That is the best news any of us can share and as we share it the gospel continues!

So go and shout it from the mountain tops that Jesus is alive.

Alleluia Christ is Risen!

 

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The beginning…

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:1-8, NRSV)

Here we see the story of John the Baptist, one who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. To help the people prepare for the coming Messiah.

But if all we come away with here is a weird guy wearing camel hides and eating bugs was shouting at people, I think we have misses the boat, or the point…

The gospel of Mark ends with the woman running from the empty tomb, “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.” (Mark 16:8) Not a really good ending to the story, but it actually isn’t the end…

You see Mark gives us the beginning. The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ! And today you continue the story!

We are still writing the story of the good news of Jesus Christ by living our lives as the beacon of hope and spreading His love!

 

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Creation!

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. (Genesis 1:1-2:4a, NRSV)

Reading this made me think of the joke, “Where is there baseball in the Bible?”

In the Big Inning…

This is the first of 2 different creation accounts in the Bible. The stories have completely different details on how it happened. In this account the wind blew over the water and the Lord spoke things into existence. In the second God formed man and breathed into him the breath of Life.

You see as Christians we read this story on Trinity Sunday (today in congregations that follow the liturgical calendar) because we see the Trinity in it. There is God, the Father. There is the Holy Spirit in the wind, you see the word in both Hebrew and Greek for wind, breath and spirit are the same word. So the wind blowing over the water is the spirit, and the word spoken is the word of God or the Son. Father, Son and Holy Spirit…

But stop for a moment and realize this story is from the Hebrew Scriptures, and is read by Jews who do not see the trinity here. True God does say later “Let us form man in our image.” But that is still not Trinity language to the Jews. That is the heavenly hosts, all the angels and other surrounding God.

So how did creation happen and was Jesus and the Spirit there?

I will answer those in reverse order. Yes Jesus and the Spirit were there. As Christians though we must remember while the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) our part of our story, they also belong to God’s chosen people that do not read Jesus and the Spirit there.

And how did creation happen… There is a lot to discuss here, but I will say I believe the Bible tells us WHO created. So there is no need for battle between Bible and science. Science may tell us how, but no one will convince me otherwise of the fact the Bible tells us who created! God created, and Jesus and the Spirit were there to be a part of creation.

Meaning they created you, and knew you before they knitted you in your mother’s womb!

So breath, and speak of the love God has given you!

 

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