"Greetings!" these are the words Jesus speaks to the women as they are walking to Galilee to tell the disciples what they have heard and seen at the tomb. They are walking 68 miles to tell the disciples what they have just seen. It would have taken them some three days to arrive at their destination. Three days seems like such a long time for both groups.
Today, we would be impatient with the journey. But if we think about it as a journey, the women would have time to discuss with one another all they had heard and seen in the past three days. Looking at the story through this lens, the distance is a blessing for the women. It gives them pause to reflect on not only what has happened for themselves but also for the disciples. Did they think about what they had seen and heard still resonate today? Were they so caught up in their own feelings that thinking beyond getting to Galilee was impossible?
But today we still pause and reflect just like the women on this wonderful news. Jesus is alive! Death did not have the last word. We can't stop there though because then Jesus' resurrection would be in vain. What we are to remember about Jesus' resurrection is it is an new beginning for each and everyone of us. We can remind ourselves that death does not have the last word but we also have to act upon that knowledge.
The Easter story is about new life. How is Jesus' resurrection going to be your resurrection?
Monday in Holy Week
The streets of Jerusalem are being swept up of palms and forgotten garments. Yesterday Jesus came through town on a colt. Everyone cheering him and celebrating in the streets. Today it is business as usual and things go back to "normal" after such a momentous event. The magic has faded just a little bit in memory. And Jesus continues his walk to the cross.
What I have been thinking about this year is how at some point in our lives we are one of the populars. People want to be near us. We are invited to dinner or drinks with the crowd. It feels good. We like being included feeling like we belong. Suddenly though something happens a comment made in passing or a perceived slight and we are no longer one of the populars. Our place is gone and we may even be "re-placed" by someone else.
We brace ourselves each year for this to happen to Jesus. We see it coming for many of us know how it feels. He is on top today and hanging on a cross Friday. Not loved but despised and hated. The question we often ask is, how could this happen? Some may even say I wouldn't allow Jesus to be treated this way. We all hope we would have the courage to stand up and speak out. While we were not alive in the time of Jesus, we still have that opportunity to stand up and speak out everyday for the least and the lost. Each one of us as followers of Jesus, bears the responsibility of looking out for the weak and befriending the friendless. It takes courage and it also reminds us of why Jesus came to walk among us to be with us when our own popularity slips and to be our friend when no one else will.
Lent Week Five
We stand on the cusp of Holy Week. A time for us all to remember what it was that Jesus did on this earth. Which was to die on the cross. It is often difficult to fully grasp what all of this means to us as Christians. Each year we pause and reflect on what it all means for us as people and individuals. It is what we call the Paschal Mystery a rather complicated way of saying that Jesus' purpose on earth was to die for us so that we might have forgiveness of our sins.
It is a difficult concept for us to understand and one many of us wrestle with, myself included. I don't want the responsibility of Jesus' death on my hands. But how do I cause his death in my own life and living. Sometimes it is being careless with my words. Or perhaps it is being less than faithful with my prayer life. They may not be earth shattering on earth but I do believe they are heaven shattering. It is how we keep ourselves from being fully in touch with ourselves as followers of Christ. These small and seemingly insignificant actions add up to the larger sin of hubris. My thinking that I don't need to do these things which help me because I am forgiven.
We are forgiven of course but God wants us each to embrace our fullness of life with him and that is going to the cross figuratively so that we might die to our old selves and rise again and again and again as new creations.