New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Today’s Reflection

MARK’S GOSPEL doesn’t describe the earthquake, but the women feel shaken when they see the effects of it: “The stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.” It’s probably an understatement for Mark to describe them as “alarmed.” If that wasn’t enough to scare the living daylights out of them, they see an angel. When angels appear in scripture, they always begin by telling the people not to be afraid.

Then the angel announces the earthshaking good news, “He has been raised; he is not here.” He commissions these women to become the first witnesses to the Resurrection. And Mark notes, “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” (Mark 16:8).

It’s a shabby way to end the Gospel. The other Gospel writers tell wonderful stories of the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ, but Mark closes with the distrubing picture of shell-shocked women running from the tomb in fear. It’s even more awkward in Greek, where the sentence ends with a conjunction that should connect the previous action with what comes next. But nothing comes next. We’re left with this dangling nonending of the story.

– James A. Harnish
Easter Earthquake

From page 109 of Easter Earthquake: How Resurrection Shakes Our World by James A. Harnish. Copyright © 2017 by James A. Harnish. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Why do you think Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5, NRSV

This Week: Give thanks for the Risen Lord. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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  • Lou Posted April 4, 2018 3:22 am

    Maybe it ends abruptly to shake us up- I’m not sure – but I know that fear and amazement and the empty tomb as in Ken’s post yesterday is cause for wonder and amazement and thanks – I give thanks for the risen Lord today- we are an Easter people and we can do nothing without Him. Robert often states that God will see us through- I take great comfort in that- through all of the trials of life shared here daily – God is with us – in our sorrows and pain and in our joys and blessings – God is always with us- He will never leave us.
    Prayers for all and blessings of peace –
    Thankful for reports of visits with grandchildren – visits to church after time away- prayers for the healing, peace and strength for aging parents as well as for fragile 3 year olds – no matter our age or station we all need Him. Praise God.

  • Jill Posted April 4, 2018 3:38 am

    I don’t think I have an answer, or even a guess, as to why Mark’s Gospel ends in this manner. I believe I have mentioned here before that my Monday evening small group has been studying “The Great Week” (Holy Week) since September. We dive deeply into each event of Christ…and I certainly have noticed how accounts differ by Gospel, some are omitted, some are virtually identical. To me, it is confounding – how eyewitnesses have different re-collections, different takes on these critical occurrences. But – I suppose that is a microcosm of life.
    I loved what Ken shared…empty tomb vs. open space. Maybe it is a bit about perspective…and as I type this – maybe that speaks to the differences I mentioned above. The life experiences we bring to a situation and how an event or conversation hits us and our interpretation. I remember during Nativity – something I read talked about an “empty manger” – and what is God about to birth in you.
    Father – deepen my desire to say…”Have Thine Own way” – and to live it out, by Your Spirit’s leading.
    Grateful to hear of Robert’s blessings. Grateful for early to bed last evening and restful sleep despite stormy weather with high winds. Grateful for improved spirits for mom yesterday – as well as news that they will play bridge with a couple today. This will be the first time mom has seen any of her friends.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted April 4, 2018 5:01 am

    I think Mark wanted to highlight the resurrection as his audience were the gentiles.

    Blessings to all

    Lou, i agree with you, no matter which season of our life we are in, we all need God.

    Jill, glad to hear that your mum is well and your parents will be playing bridge tonight.

  • Betsy Posted April 4, 2018 7:00 am

    I often find the Gospels different accounts of Jesus interesting in what they choose to emphasize. My feelings are that aren’t all our eye witness accounts of events colored with our own beliefs and perspectives? I have read that the gospel of Mark highlights more of the miracles of Jesus; the resurrection is certainly a miraculous and wonderful event. Interesting.
    So happy to hear your folks are getting together with friends, Jill. That will give a feeling of normalcy to your mom and help her spirits greatly.
    I join you, Lou, in praying for all ages from grandparents to the youngest. God is with us at every stage of life and will see us through.
    Grateful for a wonderful visit with our children. I attended Easter service with my son and daughter in law. He is risen!

  • Connie Posted April 4, 2018 7:44 am

    Sometimes in life we are left “dangling” just as in the scripture. This is where our faith comes in and we can lower ourselves to terra firma.
    I am asking for your prayers, as I am in difficulty. It is not an emergency situation, but I need to share this with you. (health related)
    On Easter we were alone, but I kept the Sabbath here at home. Thank God for the Upper Room and its offerings.

    • Connie Posted April 4, 2018 7:46 am

      Yes, Thou are the Potter, I am the clay.

      • Connie Posted April 4, 2018 7:47 am


    • Lou Posted April 4, 2018 8:05 am

      God be with you Connie today and everyday- prayers for your health concerns – you are in my heart and prayers.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted April 4, 2018 8:29 am

      Connie, keeping you in prayer


    • Andrea Posted April 4, 2018 4:36 pm

      Connie, I too am keeping you in prayer., for your health and strength. Blessings.

  • Julie Posted April 4, 2018 8:04 am

    Connie, I immediately lifted you and your health concern to the Lord. When you feel comfortable sharing further, please know that your specific concern will be lifted to the Lord. I know that the simple act of sharing my concerns here have helped me to feel better.
    Thankful for Jill’s mother’s engaging with friends.
    Thankful for Betsy’s heartening visit with her children.
    Prayers for you Mary as well as your parents.
    Continued prayers for Lou as you clean out your house and seek a new home.
    I believe Mark wanted to leave us with our wonder over the resurrection. As the women left the tomb, we share in their wonder and terror of the unknown future. The angel said that He was not there. So the women were left to feel alone, with no Jesus alive or dead.
    Blessings and prayers for and heartfelt thanks to all of my UR family
    Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams.
    Daniel Webster

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted April 4, 2018 8:31 am

    Thanks Julie for praying for all of us.


  • Cathy Harris Posted April 4, 2018 8:45 am

    I think the reason Mark’s Gospel ends so abruptly is because he wants us to be what comes next. We are to go and tell.

  • robert moeller Posted April 4, 2018 1:55 pm

    Had to look up the ending of Mark’s gospel. Used the NRSV text. Mark does tell more after the words quoted in the reflection. It is very brief, some events are summarized. I have no idea why he writes the way he does. Yes, every writer has their own view, language, opinion, and slant. Human nature has us relate the same event seen by many people in different words and ways. There are similarities and differences. Commentaries would be helpful for me as figuring out the nuances of a person’s writing has always been difficult for me.
    I like things straightforward, plain, and simple. Life is not often that way.

    Thankful for the good news from Jill about her Mom meeting friends to play bridge, Betsy’s visit with family, Mary’s better job and the well being of her parents. the sale of Lou’s house and the search and preparation for a move to a new home. Prayers for Connie’s health, Julie’s hands and foot, her visit to church and her well being; Marcy, Rusty, and all who come to the UR. Thnk You, Lord.

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