Tonight we have heard many readings. The first three, from Genesis and Exodus share much in common. In the longer narratives of creation, flood and exodus we find that there is much shared vocabulary. The ark is associated with Noah and Moses. The division of water from land, the danger and power of water, the word face, spirit/wind/breath are but some of the many images tying them together. In truth, salvation is best understood as a new creation. The creation of the world, the death and recreation of the world, and the creation of God's people Israel are central expressions of God's life giving work among us. These same words and themes also occur in the account of Jesus' baptism--and as we saw Thursday night Jesus makes clear that His life and death are the fulfillment of the exodus story.
Today is Saturday, the Sabbath. It is the day of rest and also the day Jesus lays quietly in the tomb. He does nothing on this Sabbath. Yesterday, Friday, is the day God created the first man. Man, who is in the image and likeness of God is born that day, and Jesus, the Image of the image dies. Sunday is Day 1. Early on the morning of Easter Sunday begins the new creation. In the days ahead, Jesus will breath His spirit upon the apostles, even as the Father breathed life into Adam. Salvation is creation.
Zephaniah speaks of the presence of God our King in our midst. Ironically, as we reflected together last Sunday, the king in their midst was enthusiastically received but quickly rejected by the people. One might say that the Gospel of God's mercy is best understood as the saga of the long suffering Father who seeks His children's return. Holy Week displays our sin and wickedness to the core. Love and forgiveness are met with rejection and crucifixion. Yet, resurrection is God's final answer to the injustice and death. It is noteworthy that the resurrection accounts are devoid of retribution. Jesus does not return to wreak vengeance. Instead He commissions others to continue His work, calling all people to repent and trust in God.
The Gospel of Mark is hard edged. In Mark Jesus is met by "no faith." His enemies do not believe in Him, but neither do His family or followers. Matthew's version is softened to "you of little faith." One wonders why. Perhaps that is why the oldest versions of Mark's Gospel ends with the woman, scared and amazed fleeing the tomb. "And they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid." There is not faith to end. Only silence, wonder and fear.
Why would Mark end this way? Obviously they told someone, how else would Mark known? It is an odd end to the story, especially when such a glorious turn of events had taken place. How could they have been afraid? we ponder. How can they say nothing to anyone? We find ourselves saying, no doubt, if I had gone to a grave and it was empty and I was told that the dead one was raised and alive again, well, I think I would have been likely to tell everyone I met.
And perhaps that is Mark's point....
Because, Mark is saying, to each of us--- you do know.
You do know He is risen.
So why are you afraid to tell anyone?