Mark 16:2

Very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, after sunrise.

yawn that market opened early
I’m still exhausted from our vigil

was it only two days ago
I really needed that sabbath

well it’s a new week of creation
let’s listen for a new word

hey you’re forgetting we’re still beloved
we’ve got all the words we need

well yeah for sure of course
but we’re still going to a tomb

oh yeah that’s right
I keep forgetting that

well it’s not far now
what shall we do after

There has been much made of rising on the third day. There has been a long road trod since the Transfiguration event. All along that timeline we have heard about suffering, death, rising and third days.

Now we hear a different reference—a first day.

A third day rising has baffled character after character. It seems to have a null set that could never be factored in because there was so much resistance to the suffering and death.

When the arrest happened, no one suggested being ready to start a countdown as the suffering and death proceeded to deepen and darken. There was no anticipation of a bright-sun day.

After reminding us that the first day is not related to the rising as an event, but its proclamation, LaVerdiere2319 goes on:

Normally, the Greek expression for “the first day” should have been written with an ordinal numeral, prote (“first”), as we find it in translation. Instead what we find in Greek is a cardinal numeral, mia (“one”), making for a very awkward expression in Greek, “the day one,” instead of “the first day.”

The significance of this begins to dawn when we know that the Septuagint (Greek Hebrew scripture used during Jesus’ time) did this same number play for the first day of Creati*n (day one). This eventually connects with those who follow Jesus to have this be day one, a new creation. As per usual, the characters are not aware of this.

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought some spices, so that they might go and anoint the body of Jesus.

let’s see
where were we
before yesterday
oh yes
the day before

with a day to process
our starting hope
and a closing scene
we’ll honor our hope
by honoring its dashedness

we’re ready for marketeers
wanting a strong first sale
to token the rest of their day
the cheapest spice
leaves more for beggars

we at least learned
how to love our neighbors
at the material level
and that’s a tough learning
so on to the tomb

In Mark’s way of structuring his story, the suffering and death part of Jesus’ expectation was begun with an unexpected anointing by an unknown woman and is now about to be concluded with an expected anointing by three named women. [Note: If it weren’t going to be these three women, there was a guild of women in Jerusalem who would attend to the bodies of the crucified to give them as much respect in death as they could provide.]

Given that an unknown woman has already anointed Jesus—in good story-telling process, a Reader may intuit that three named women will not be successful in their quest.

Their only hope may be a present shift from their past. From other sources we hear the sordid background of Mary Magdalene. Earlier, in 4:31–35 Mary, mother of James, was demoted from blood family status to Partner of G*D status. There are stories of Salome’s being Herod’s daughter who asked for Baptizer John’s head. Anyone who changes their hearts and lives might yet find possibilities previously undreamt.

As Mark’s story hurries to its end-point, we will soon find out if their anticipated anointing adds anything but a bracketing of Jesus’ trial and death.

For Mark’s purposes, this storyline with the women does provide a counter-narrative to that of the authorities where Jesus’ body has been notarized as dead, carried away, wrapped, and deposited in a tomb with a large stone to seal him away to stinkily decompose and, later, have his bones cleared away to make room for a next body.