Messy Endings Just Mean New Beginnings

Messy endings just mean a new chapter is beginning

Easter has never been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, I looked forward to the chocolate bunnies and the candy, the colorful Easter baskets with fake colored straw, and the painted eggs. (What’s that all about, anyway?) But the resurrection of Jesus…? Okay, yeah, a fundamental of the Christian faith, but so what?

The lesson, of course, is that bad situations don’t get the final word. Life ultimately overcomes death. Light ultimately overcomes darkness, even after the longest and most terrifying of nights.

There’s something to be said for that: knowing that the crap we may be buried in at the moment is not the final story, that something good is still ahead. And that’s kinda what Easter says to me: a promise of new chapters. The story continues, and we’re not done yet.

The gospel portion from today’s lectionary reading is from the gospel of Mark. I kinda like it because it has 3 women going to the tomb early Sunday morning. And they were not celebrating. They were not on a vigil, looking for their risen lord. They were carrying out a mundane and dirty duty, but one they were on their way to perform with love. Mary from Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were bringing spices to embalm the body of their friend and teacher. It would not be a pleasant task. But they would do it because they loved.

When they got to the tomb, they saw it was already opened, and a young man in white was sitting there. This is what strikes me: they were alarmed; they were scared. He says some comforting words to them about their risen lord, but they “fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.”

In a few short lines, words like “alarmed,” “terror,” “amazement,” and “afraid” occur 5 times.

They never got to do the thing they’d set out to do. There was no body to embalm.

Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan. That promotion at work we may have been working toward is given to someone else. Or we study for years in college for a career, and then can’t get the job we wanted. Or the relationship we hoped for for so long and worked so hard to build ends in heart-break and separation. Abrupt endings can be terrifying and confusing — “what is going on? What am I supposed to do now?”

The hope of Easter is that even after messy and terrifying endings, something new happens. In the Romans reading in the lectionary, the Apostle Paul says, “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Newness of life — even after messy endings.

Life is unpredictable. It seldom goes as planned. But the promise of Easter is that the messy end of a chapter is not necessarily the end of the story. There is always a new chapter. And it’s usually a surprise, something we hadn’t expected.

And that’s something to look forward to.

Have a peaceful — and hopeful — Sunday.


refs: Mark 16:1-8; Romans 6:4
Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash, cc