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“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.” That's where the Gospel of Mark originally ended. And it just seems so odd to me. It's so abrupt. I mean, the women had seen the angel. He'd announced that Jesus was raised from the dead, and then he tells them all this good news and wants them to go on their way. And they just are not going to say a single word.

There are three words in that passage that really stand out for me, especially in the Greek. One is fear — phobos. We get phobia from that. The other one is amazement — ekstasis. We get ecstasy from that. And the other one has to do with being seized. It actually means “being possessed.” So we take a look at these women, and they've had this miraculous appearance by an angel. They've heard the good news that Jesus has raised from the dead, and they're too afraid to do anything about it, and they just are going to be silent. It seems that nothing changed. They came to take care of Jesus’ dead body because on the Sabbath they could not work. But on the first day of the week, they were there. They have this announcement, and then it's all the same.

Sometimes I think we feel like nothing's changed. Sometimes I think that the events in our country, in our church, around the world are just so terrifying and so overwhelming that it seems like the resurrection really didn't make a difference. But these three words really say something about the women, and I think about us and, most especially, about Easter. When they said that they were f illed with amazement — this is this ecstasy, ekstasis — they were really standing. It means literally standing in a different place. So though they were still in the tomb and they hadn't reacted yet, nevertheless, everything had changed. And because of the resurrection, we, all of us, are standing in a different place. The whole of creation is standing in a different place. And the word for fear, phobos, phobia we get from that. But it's really a sense of trembling in the presence of God, of awe that they were actually filled with awe — not paralyzed by fear but filled with awe. And I hope this Eastertide and all year round, we have a sense of the presence of God that fills us with awe.

And it also says that they were seized with fear. Well, the word means “possessed.” And yes, we believe that in baptism because of the resurrection, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and we now are all Spirit-possessed.

When things seem to be staying the same, when things seem to be happening and coming at us so quickly, I think it's very important to take time to be a little amazed, to be standing in a different place, to have a sense of this awe and trembling before the Lord, and to allow ourselves to be possessed by the Spirit, who will give us power and courage in these times.

My favorite hymn is “Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song.” It's ELW 808. And the last verse goes like this: “I fear in the dark and the doubt of my journey; but courage will come with the sound of his steps by my side. And with all of the family Jesus saved by his love, we’ll sing to his dawn at the end of our journey.”

Be well, dear church. Happy Easter.