So That's What They Call It

In his comments regarding the Easter Sunday Gospel lesson on www.workingpreacher.org, Professor Paul Berge (emeriti faculty member, Luther Seminary in St. Paul) writes:

The New Revised Standard Version text of Mark 16:2 reads: "And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went (Greek: "they come") to the tomb." The literal reading of the Greek text would be to translate as a present tense event, "they come." In Greek this is known as the historic present tense with its purpose to draw you as the reader or hearer into the present time of the story. We, too, become witnesses, even participants with the women, in the action of coming to the tomb.

For years I have been trying to discipline myself to talk about Christ, especially when preaching, in the present tense, to remind us that his is not some story from two thousand years ago, but one that continues to play out in our lives today. Now I have a name for it: the Historic Present Tense.

Thanks, Dr. Berge!