Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sacred Emptiness Mark 16:8

"On Easter we find the tomb of God empty. To me the tomb is for Christians what the Holy of Holies is for Jews, and the Ka’aba is for Muslims: an empty space speaking to the ineffability of God. In the Abrahamic religions God cannot be imaged, so of course their sacred space should be empty of images." Rabbi Rami

Growing up in the church I always found the imagery, or lack thereof, of the empty tomb much more powerful than the ascension of Christ. I'm sure many in the early Christian community thought so as well as Mark, our earliest witness, ends his tale at 16:8 with the women fleeing from the tomb. What a way to end a story! But there is something alluring and terrifying of that sacred emptiness, and in the end we give in and fill the sacred space. Maybe it's our creative drive kicking in urging us to create an answer (i.e. a god, a gospel, a religious symbol) when we can no longer deal with the existence of a question. Maybe it's much easier dealing with something tangible than living with an empty space.

Rabbi Rami posted his new reading on Easter today: God died for his sins so that we may be free of the old images/gods which sanctioned evil. This empty space draws us in to create and terrifies us of the lack of creation. Like an exploding star, it is pregnant with endless possibilities and that infinite emptiness scares the shit out of us (pardon my french). It is no wonder that the early Christian community had to believe that the Christ had to return some day to once again save us, this time from the empty space. I admit it is too much to sit and ponder the immensity of the destruction and creation happening throughout the cosmos for billions of years. As Named things we give into the urge to Name, including naming the Unnameable, the eternal Tao. Maybe that is simply our nature(or maybe destiny?), to become in harmony with the destruction and creation of all things, to find our part in the cycle and destroy the emptiness by filling it with our presence only to one day create emptiness by our departure. Last week I pulled up the weeds in my flower bed so that next week I can fill it with flowers.

1 comment:

Don said...

The "ending" of the Gospel of Mark is much debated, as well as having someone write an ending some time later. This simply shows, as you stated, that we humans have a problem with what we perceive as an incomplete ending. Your post adequately deals with this problem.

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