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Overcoming death

Read John 20:1-18
Death and darkness cannot overcome the light and life that is found through Jesus Christ.
The last word is not suffering, or violence, or betrayal, or death, the last word is love, it is resurrection.
And so Mary gets moving … the empty tomb is not a statement of death, it is not an invitation to look in and ponder loss, rather it is a proclamation of life.
Once Mary can change her focus, she is able to see the amazing thing God is doing.So she goes and finds the disciples to tell them a new story … not one about death, not about the empty tomb … no she tells them about resurrection saying “I saw the Lord!” Notice she doesn’t say “Jesus is risen” no she proclaims her relationship with Jesus.This is our calling church … to seek out those resurrection moments in our daily living … the ones that are hidden from plain sight, the ones that pull us out of stagnation and fear, the ones that beckon us from staring into the empty places longing for the past so we can change our…

Mary and the risen Christ

Read: John 20:1-18
The risen Christ does not dismiss Mary and her confusion, he meets her where she is, he calls her by name, as the Good Shepherd does and tells her what she needs to hear in order to live into the reality of resurrection. She is not to hold onto the tangible Jesus any longer, the old has passed away and before her standing is the new reality, which today we are even still trying to put words onto, to understand and to explain. “Do not hold onto me.”Much has been asked about this … many of us quickly go to a question about physical matter. Is it that Jesus cannot be touched, what was his resurrected body like? What if instead what he means to tell Mary is that you cannot hold onto me … because I need to move forward, you need to move forward, Mary don’t get stuck in the past. We are not to hold onto Jesus, because then we might try to keep him right where we are right now rather than following him where he is taking us, where he is going. Don’t keep looking into the empty to…

Resurrection

John 20:1-28

Who would have thought that death would not have the final word? Yet there were hints of resurrection all through the telling of John’s gospel up to this point,they are sprinkled through the entire cannon of scripture.Foreshadowing and laying the foundation for this amazing culmination.

Into the dead end situations of life, Jesus breaths life and light and it is all grounded in relationship.It challenges the status quo that separates, limits love, and hinders genuine relationships. In the dead end situation of poverty and hunger, where the Roman government controlled the bread rations, Jesus boldly and faithfully reveals God’s abundance by feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with a few loaves of bread and fish.After breaking, blessing and giving, the bounty is so great that they have leftovers!

In the dead end situation of isolation and shame for the blind man, Jesus heals not just the one who was blind but now sees but offers that same healing and restoration to the ent…

Love

Daily reading: John 18:33-40 Holy Saturday 
Focus passage: “So you are a king?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and come into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”John 18:37
Jesus began his earthly ministry by announcing “the Kingdom of God is near.” And now as he stands trial he says “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”
This might be the most difficult passage of scripture to get our heads around. The Kingdom of God isn’t won by violence or coercion, it is won through the unconditional love of God that sustains and supports us no matter what.  
The cross then isn’t an act to appease a vengeful God, but a symptom of a world that solves problems through violence and not through love.
Take time today to contemplate the space between death and resurrection. Seek for G…

Forgiveness

Daily reading: Luke 23:32-38 Good Friday 
Focus passage:Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing. Luke 23:34
Sometimes we find it easier to forgive when someone asks for forgiveness, because then we get the acknowledgement that they have wronged us. But here on the cross Jesus forgives without being asked. Jesus speaks a word of forgiveness because he embodies God and it is the nature of God to forgive. Before he can ask for something for himself, or say something to a follower who may be in ear shot, he speaks to God about you and me, he says “Father, forgive them.”
Even on the cross Jesus is ministering to us. Even on the cross after being humiliated, he does not allow the mob violence and his own execution change who he is. The sins of those killing him do not weigh him down, he is not burdened, or angered, or resentful, he does not yell out to the crowd “hey, I’m innocent! This is wrong.” He does no…

Humility

Daily reading: John 13:1-19 Holy Thursday 
Focus passage:So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. John 13:4-5
Christ who taught us to serve one another, begins the evening by bending down and tenderly cleaning off the dust from the road, washing and drying the feet of those that have been following him.
Christ seeks out, of empowers and supports even the wavering and often wrong disciples.
In the midst of a highly charged evening, when Jesus is sure that one will betray, one will deny and the others will scatter in fear, he still kneels down and washes.  
We are called even in the stress of our days, to follow the example of Christ; to seek out others, to serve one another and to do it with grace and love.
Be open to these opportunities today.When tasks pile up, or take over and become more important than oth…

Betrayal

Daily reading: John 13:21-30 Holy Wednesday 
Focus passage:After he said these things, Jesus was deeply disturbed and testified, “I assure you, one of you will betray me.”John 13:21
I am constantly aware of the vulnerability we are called to embrace in our faith community and in our closest relationships. I find that I expend a lot of energy guarding myself and yet God gently reminds me that our call is to love God and to love our neighbor and that means that we have to be willing to be vulnerable.
A mentor of mind, Rev. Herb Lynskey once posed this thought at a clergy retreat: “Judas was an answer to a prayer.” He was referring to when Jesus prayed before calling the Twelve.  I struggled with this thought because I like to vilify Judas to put him in his own box. I like to think that I would never be like him, that I would never betray a close friend. But to box him up so nicely keeps me from seeing a part of me I would rather not see. We all have the capability of being like Judas. We al…