Thursday, April 5, 2018

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 focus to joy and light. 

We are called to enter into the story to see and then to tell with bold courage as Mary did. 

Prayer: God of the resurrected Christ, help me to live boldly into your calling today, seeing newness and light all around. Help me to let go and courageously move forward at your leading. Amen.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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 tomb, mourning Mary,
because God has so much more for us beyond death and decay.

God of the resurrected Christ, help me to live boldly into your calling today, seeing newness and light all around.  Help me to let go and courageously move forward at your leading.  Amen.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

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 entire community, revealing to them their own blindness made real in their rules and regulations and lack of compassion.

In the dead end situation of 100s of years of mistrust and hate between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus offers to a Samaritan woman at a well, living water, speaking in her language, affirming that he is her Messiah, stretching the boundaries of God’s love well beyond what anyone thought or imagined was possible.

In the dead end situation of his friend Lazarus’ death, Jesus boldly called him from the tomb and Lazarus emerged, lungs filled with the breath of life, after being dead for four days.
Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, mixed the sacred with the flesh and bone of our human needs and of our suffering.

This is the power of the gospel, to mix the ordinary elements of our world with the sacred … even the dark, sad and lonely elements of our world, the element of death that has a lasting effect on our relationships and takes our breath away that causes us to pause and alter our days. 

Prayer: God of the resurrected Christ, help me to live boldly into your calling today, seeing newness and light all around. Help me to let go and courageously move forward at your leading. Amen.



Even death cannot go untouched by God.
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.   

Storing your treasure

Read Matthew 6:7-21 Back 2001, Dan and I led a mission trip into the mountains of Nicaragua to help with hurricane recovery.   We coul...