Thursday, March 31, 2016

The unexpected

Daily reading: Mark 16:1-8
Thursday March 31, 2016

Focus passage: But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised.  He isn’t here.  Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go and tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee.  You will see him there, just as he told you.” Mark 16:6-7

The women who came to the tomb the spices in hand to anoint Jesus’ body surely didn’t expect a to see “young man dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side of the cave.”
They surely were not expecting to hear that “Jesus of Nazareth is risen and not here.”  They surely were not expecting to hear an invitation to go and to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen.

Even Peter who denied knowing Jesus three times and deserted him along with the others, is to be told.  In the midst of fear and death, the angle speaks resurrection.  So much of what happens in our faith life is unexpected.

Prayer: God of the resurrection, I praise you today.  Breathe new life in me.  Amen. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Daily reading: Mark 16:1-8
Wednesday March 30, 2016

Focus passage: Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. Mark 16:5

Standing at the entrance they don’t see their friend’s body, instead they see a young man in a white robe. 

But the unexpected isn’t just with the stone being rolled away that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Upon entering they don’t find Jesus’ body. 
And their grief quickly turns to alarm.
 They were prepared,
they waited,
they gathered the spices,
they knew the exact spot to go to,
since they followed Joseph of Armiathea
with the body there just three days earlier,
they got there as soon as they possibly could,
how is it that he is gone?

They expected to find Jesus’ body there. 

They expected to cry
and have their tears mix with the spices
as they anointed his body,
they expected to have one more moment with their Lord
as they cared for him,
as he would have cared for them.
They expected to grieve
and experience a whole host of emotions. 
What else would you expect?

Prayer: God of the resurrection, I praise you today.  Breathe new life in me.  Amen. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rolling away the Stone

Rolling away the Stone by Pastor Leslie
Daily reading: Mark 16:1-8
Tuesday March 29, 2016

Focus passage: They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” Mark 16:3

It isn’t until the women are on their way that they realize that they haven’t brought along someone who can help them to roll away the large stone that had been placed in front of the tomb.
We’ve all been there.  You get half way across town and realize that you didn’t bring a key or you forgot the thing that you were supposed to be taking with you.  It happens when we are otherwise occupied and tired and spent.  

Amidst all of the questions in their minds one of them actually says out-loud “who will roll away the stone?”

They have overlooked something so obvious And we have been there too.  I think in order to be human in this day and age we have all at some time had this sort of experience.  And it usually happens in moments of great stress, or in meeting hurried deadlines, or when we are in a state of deep grief, that certain major things get overlooked.
“Who is going to roll away the stone?” 

What obstacles do you have in your life that hinders you from moving forward faithfully?  Take time today to name them and ask God to help you find a way forward.

Prayer: God of the resurrection, I praise you today.  Breathe new life in me.  Amen. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

It begins with death

Daily reading: Mark 16:1-8
Monday March 28, 2016

Focus passage: When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Mark 16:1

The story begins as a response to death.  It begins with the Sabbath concluding and at the first ray of sunlight, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome take spices so that they could anoint Jesus’ dead body.

You see the funeral plans had been waylaid by the beginning of the Sabbath.  And so they had to wait.  

When the sun came up over the horizon they pulled their tired bodies up, gathered the necessary spices and went to do what they needed to do.

There is a simple beauty in their actions, like a casserole made with great love and care for a family that is mourning the loss of a loved one.  

Notice they are not alone, in community they are mourning and in community they are doing something tangible together. 

Prayer: God of the resurrection, I praise you today.  Breathe new life in me.  Amen. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday

Daily reading: Mark 16:1-8
Sunday March 27, 2016

Focus passage: Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb.  They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:18

What does resurrection mean to you?

The compelling message that left the women from the tomb amazed and terrified is still something we grapple with today.  God’s activity in our world is usually unsettling, we often hear messengers say “fear not.”  Yet we also experience the movement of God, resurrection moments, in ways that do not bring about fear but bring about hope.

We revisit this familiar story every year because the church needs to hear once again the story of death and resurrection.
We revisit it because as a faith community we are constantly living into our answer of what it means to be a resurrection community.
We revisit it, because life constantly is presenting for us opportunities to experience death and to be surprised by resurrection.  

What area of your life needs to hear the message of resurrection?  What areas of our community need to hear the message of resurrection?  

Prayer: God of the resurrection, I praise you today.  Breathe new life in me.  Amen. 

Easter ... ready ... set ... go!

Matthew 28:1-10 About three years ago I committed to the Narrative Lectionary.   It is a four-year cycle that takes the congregation t...