There is a fascinating detail in the way the writer of the gospel of Mark tells the story of the resurrection. This writer describes “a young man dressed in a dazzling robe” sitting where the corpse of Jesus had been.
It was an ordinary day, a day of working. A woman, in the middle of her life, readied herself for her commute home after another day’s work.
She took a seat on a bus. Other commuters embarked and disembarked, but soon the bus was filled. The bus driver was one of those management types, and in his world there was a particular way the passengers were supposed to behave. It was Montgomery, Tennessee, and “white” folk sat at the front and “black” folk sat at the back. The driver, noticing that four whites were having to stand, instructed four black passengers to give up their seats. This woman was one of them. She refused. You know her story and her name, she is Rosa Parks.
Rosa, reflecting upon her refusal, simply notes that she refused not because she was physically tired, but rather because she was “tired of giving in”…tired of giving in….tired…it was this tiredness that initiated a whole new era.
This is the dynamic that is happening in the Jesus story as we enter Holy Week. It is a Holy Week because it initiates a new era by a people who were tired of being beaten down.
It is amazing what can be born of tiredness. I spoke with someone this week who said they were feeling a little “flat”, not up, not down, just “flat”.
Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. I want to pause there for a moment in this story found in Mark 14:3-9. Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. Do you notice what the story doesn’t say?
I have read the Bible for a long time, a lot of years. My job requires it, yet in all these years I am loathe to admit I have never noticed this aspect of the story before. Maybe I have been asleep on the job and all of you are grateful I am finally catching up.
Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper and what isn’t said in the story is this. Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper who Jesus had healed or cured the day before or the week before or the month before. It doesn’t say that.
I have often bemoaned that when I am walking alongside persons with chronic illness or in varying stages of palliative care, I often bemoan that there is not a story where Jesus doesn’t cure the person, a story where there is healing but not necessarily curing. I wanted just one story. Well here it is.