May God bless your Holy Week –
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Celebration of the Resurrection.
There has been a lot of that lately.
In the face of serious challenges, we freeze, we flee, and we fight.
Fear. There has been a lot of that lately in our country, communities, and congregations.
Fear. There has been a lot of that lately in my heart. I could tell you about my fears about my family, your synod, our church body, our institutions, our society, our country, and our world.
Fear kills my ability to think, makes me think first about my needs, and makes me step on my neighbors to get to what I perceive safety to be.
Fear can drive us to behave in ways we cannot later believe because it is so unlike us. God knows all our fears and will not leave us there.
The longer I live in the Story of the betrayal, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the more I appreciate the Gospel of Mark’s telling of the Good News. I find myself in the people who are excited to welcome Jesus until he does not behave the way they hope for. I see myself as the betrayer, if I am honest with myself. I see myself as the denier at times. I see myself in the Story wondering what God is up to as my Lord is crucified. My longing for a God who works in glorious ways dies along with my understanding of God that is always too small. I see myself in the whole Story even as one who shouts, “Crucify him!” when I want to be God, when I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do. And then I cannot quite believe the good news of God’s resurrecting grace and love much like the early disciples, too.
As we run in our fear, “full of terror and amazement,” we are not so different from the early disciples. But eventually God turns us around from our fears and calls us to share the Good News. We can and we will.
Alleluia, he is Risen. He is risen, Alleluia. We stop freezing. We stop fleeing. We stop fighting and our living resurrected Lord calls us to follow into God’s deep longings for our future and God’s reign.
1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So 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.