By: Maggie Leonard
Acts 10: 34-43
Reflection—v. 36, You know the message [God] sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ
Peace. That is what Jesus preached. That is the heart of the good news. Peace. When I was a student, I took the call to peace very literally. Pursuing peace meant an end to war, violence in the streets, and systematic oppression. It was something that I could see and that I could throw all of my energy into chasing and demanding—and I had a lot of energy. When I would go to rallies, I would see bumper stickers and t-shirts that mused about the importance of inner peace. I dismissed the wisdom. Inner peace is for the privilleged. Who has time for that nonsense? I have come to see the error of my ways. Though still pretty spry, I’ve slowed down a bit. When someone is not well with herself (sometimes that person is me), I can feel the vibration of fear or anger. I can see the holes and unintended implications in their plan. The ceasation of violence will come when our strong hearts align with our minds, allowing us to approach others without reactivity and with tenderness and a willingness to understand another’s journey. This is what Jesus modeled for us in going to the cross. And the hope that he gives us in his resurrection. New life is indeed possible.
Prayer Beloved, help us pursue peace that we might enjoy your new world today.
By: Chad Hyatt
What does the new world look like? What are the signs that the resurrection has re-made the universe? One of the members of our community often comments how, from a Hollywood blockbuster point of view, the gospel accounts of the resurrection are decidedly underwhelming. We all want something bigger of God, flashier, more definitive—almost literally earth-shattering. Hollywood gives exactly what we want. God gives us something even better, but with the catch that we have to see differently in order to see it at all. John has placed a lot of emphasis on seeing as a way of faith. At the tomb this continues. In the case of the two disciples who go running to see what has happened, we only see what they see: literally, nothing—except an empty tomb where a body should be and linens that are folded neatly and laid to the side. With Mary Magdalene, we find a person very much like ourselves; she is so focused on what she cannot see that she is unable to see what is before her. The signs of the resurrection are small, even hard to see. Like Mary Magdalene, we are so often blinded because we do not see what we expect to see and miss the brand-new world standing in front of us, gently calling our name. At that direct address of love, we suddenly come to see what we have missed all along.
Prayer Beloved Lord, help us to see the brand new world in front of us.
By: Maggie Leonard
Reflection—v. 15, ‘What are you looking for?’
The first words of Jesus in the Gospel of John are directed toward the first disciples who choose to follow him. He asks them, ‘What are you looking for?’ These are the same words he first speaks after his resurrection. Upon finding Mary Magdalene crying at his tomb, he asks her, ‘What are you looking for?’ We learn in this Gospel that resurrection and new life do not look as we might expect. What are we looking for? A flaming chariot from on high? An eerily floating talking-head in the heavens? A booming voice of truth overhead? A free meal? A one-year sober chip? The self-control not to yell at an instigator? Reconciliation between friends? Reconciliation between enemies? May we have a renewed view of how resurrection might look for us this Easter.
Prayer Jesus, what am I looking for? Show me yourself this Easter in new and unexpected ways.