Before entering the season of Pentecost, reflect with me one more time the reaction of the women on that Easter morning “they said nothing to anyone” (Mark 16:8).

They said nothing to anyone. Notice there was no cry of “Alleluia!” We do not hear the shout of, “He is risen.” There was no loud organ cantata, or trumpets blasting their joy, much less choirs singing with all their might. The biblical story in Mark is different. It is decidedly quiet. Silent. Not a word. Nothing to anyone.

I don’t know about you, but for me, Mark’s version is at first, eerily different from the other gospels. Everything is quiet.  I’m not sure what to make of it. There is a part of me that doesn’t get it. There is nothing to evaluate, except an empty tomb. The women are speechless. There is silence. Nothing was said to anyone. No conversation. Zero explanation. No description.

Surely there is more. Matthew, in his Gospel, tells of an earthquake. Luke tells of two angels who remind us Jesus foretold he would rise again. John has a beautiful, touching conversation with Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord who she first mistook as the gardener. Those gospel writers give us something to go on. They give preachers plenty to talk about. But not Mark. There is only silence.

They say when people are in a car wreck everyone involved has a different perspective at first. The driver has a story to tell. So does the passenger. The one hit speaks as a victim. Then, of course, there are the witnesses. One accident. Many stories. It doesn’t mean the different stories are inconsistent or cannot be trusted. It does mean each in their own way speak from a different perspective, a personal viewpoint, a unique assessment of who, what, when and why.    

The gospel, resurrection narratives are different because we are reflecting on theological descriptions and timeless spiritual insights which provide different formats or platforms for recounting the Easter proclamation. Words help us understand. We are capable of communicating and sharing the Easter story. But Mark?

Silence allows us not only to be quiet but provides us time to think. When we are not in conversations with others, we are able to talk to ourselves. More importantly, silence gives us space to pray and time to give God the floor. The Easter season has a message for us all. Listen. I like to talk. Silence is not my strength. However, in reading Mark this Easter, I understand silence, not only opens us to this mighty act of God but empties us to see and hear. We see the presence of God here on earth. We see Jesus, perhaps like never before as the “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation. 17:14) and who is the “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). Yes, we hear the Word of God, loud and clear, “This is my beloved Son with whom God is well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Amen!

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Robin Jennings

Robin T. Jennings is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, and an accomplished author, speaker and teacher who inspires his audiences with Biblical guidance and spiritual insights into everyday life. Whether he has the opportunity to speak to churches, businesses or organizations, Robin’s lifetime of work in spiritual transformation and renewal connects individuals with timely topics such as the importance of community, hope, identity and the search for meaning which are inevitably woven into his message.

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