top of page
Search
  • bigredchurch

Scripture

Matthew 28: 5 - 6

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’"


Mark 16: 1 - 4

"When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, 'Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?' But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”


Reflection

Since Easter Sunday I have been wondering more about this idea of resurrection. As I spoke to on Easter Sunday it is really difficult in our modern world, a world in which everything needs to be provable, quantifiable, measured, and known, to consider this idea of resurrection. Yet, resurrection is one of the cornerstones of what we say we believe. I have been wondering about how one is to speak about resurrection in a world where resurrection is tough to believe. What does resurrection mean to us today? It is a challenging question, one that has made me stop and think these past few weeks. The scriptures from today are, each, a small part of the resurrection stories from Matthew’s gospel and Mark’s gospel.


In Matthew the very first words that are spoken by the angel are, “Be not afraid.” Be not afraid, in our world this might just be a challenging thing to live out. There is so much fear in our world. There is fear for the future, there is fear of others, there is fear of the unknown, and the first words are ‘be not afraid.’ How often in our lives have we allowed fear to stop us from doing something? How often in our lives have we allowed fear to keep us from seeing God in the world? How often has our fear stopped us from seeing moments of new life, of resurrection in our lives and the world around us? For Matthew the resurrection is about seeing it even in the midst of our fear.


Mark has a different take on the resurrection, as we see in his version of this story. By the time the women arrive at the tomb the stone has been rolled away and resurrection has happened. I wonder if this means that they missed resurrection, but I don’t believe that that is what Mark is saying, I believe that Mark is reminding us that God has been working, is working, and will continue to work in our lives, even when we can’t see it, or don’t see it. God has been working in our lives and the world throughout our entire lives and not just when we notice it. The stone being rolled away is not an indication of missing God’s miracles in our lives, but rather the reminder that even when don’t see it happening God is working within and around us. It is a comfort in knowing that even when we are not aware of it, God’s grace is working. But what does this mean in our lives and in our world, I wonder about that today, given the way that world currently exists.


American Lutheran Pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks to the resurrection in the following way, “The Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection. It’s about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small.” Yes, we speak of resurrection in terms of Jesus and how love conquers death, how new life comes, how renewal is ongoing in the world. But when we begin to view resurrection as a personal experience it becomes something more. Resurrection, when viewed personally, speaks to the new life found in overcoming our own fear, in living into new life now, in the midst of our fear. Resurrection, when viewed personally, begins to see the grace of God in our lives from the moment we were born. Resurrection allows us to become aware of the new life that has, and continues to exist within our lives as a result of God’s love. Resurrection, when viewed personally, helps us to know that in those graves that we have all dug for ourselves God is always reaching in to pull us out. It is recognize that our faith is a gift that should, can, and does, impact our whole life, if only we allow ourselves to live into resurrection each and every day.


Prayer

God of resurrection and new lift, help us to hear those words again, ‘be not afraid’ and help us to know that the power of your love will help us through our fear. Give us the wisdom to look for you in our lives and to find those places where you have been working, in our lives, to bring us to you, so that we might live more fully into who you call us to be. Give us the courage to know that when we find ourselves in those graves, that we have dug ourselves, to reach out to you, as you are already reaching out to us. Help us to see that resurrection is something that we are called to live each day, so that we might live into the new life you have promised. We ask this in the name of the one who has risen, your son, Jesus. Amen.

0 views0 comments
  • bigredchurch

Scripture

Mark 11: 15 – 18

15Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,

    ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?

    But you have made it a den of robbers.”

18And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.


Reflection

We have entered what many of us know as “Holy Week” the last week of Jesus in Jerusalem. I have often wondered what this week was like for Jesus. I wonder if I was in the same position, would I do what Jesus did? It is difficult for us sometimes because I think that we have this idea of Jesus and that Jesus we know can be different from the one we might just see this week. The scripture today paints a picture that is very different from the Jesus we are used to seeing in other biblical stories. We are used to seeing Jesus the shepherd. Jesus the one who calls the little children. Jesus the healer. Jesus the one who eats with the tax collectors and the marginalized. We are so used to seeing Jesus the gentle, meek, and mild, that we forget that there is much more to who Jesus was in the world.


We sometimes picture Jesus with all of these wonderful attributes and when we do, I wonder if we tend to dehumanize Jesus. Jesus becomes this perfect individual who we are told that we must be like and yet we can never be perfect, so we struggle to attain the unattainable in our lives. We forget that there is an understanding of Jesus as full human, feeling the full range of human emotions, all human emotions.


The Jesus we read about in these passages from Mark’s gospel is Jesus the angry, Jesus who comes in a sees the injustice of what is happening and he reacts. In the reading from Mark, Jesus recognizes those who are profiting off of the poor, those who are selling animals for sacrifice because these sellers know that many of those who have travelled to the temple cannot afford to bring with them offerings and therefore must buy them, at the temple, if they are to fulfill what the temple authorities demand. These ones who are profiting off of the misfortune of others. And Jesus is angry, angry enough to throw them out of the temple, to turn over their tables. This is a Jesus that we are not used to seeing, but it is important that we do see this Jesus. This is an important Jesus for us because it helps us to understand that being our fully human selves is important and that includes our anger.


I am not sure if any of you were like me, but I was raised to think that anger is wrong. I was raised to understand that I shouldn’t get angry, that anger was a negative emotion and was something that should not be expressed. But the reality is that anger is a part of being human. I had the opportunity to go and see someone the other day and when I got there they told me that they were not having a good day. I inquired why it was not a ‘good’ day. Now the reality is that their life has changed dramatically and their life is very different now and they were angry. Of course they would be angry and I believe that they have every right to be angry. Anger itself I think is good and can tell us something about ourselves and our lives. Jesus was angry at the injustice of what was happening. We too can be angry at how we might see the injustice of this world. We can be angry when circumstances beyond our control seem to be taking over our lives. We can be angry at how life sometimes seems so unfair. We can be angry at some of the things that have happened in the world. We can just be angry.


The challenge comes when we have to figure out what to do with that anger. When we are angry it can be so easy to lash out at others, to blame other for what is happening in our lives and the world. It can be easy for us to transfer our anger onto another person and I think that this is the challenge with anger. I have come to realize that emotions themselves are not bad. Anger is not bad. It is what we do with it that makes it appropriate or inappropriate. Even though Jesus was angry, he continued to move forward, working to bring about God’s kingdom. Even though Jesus was angry he did not give up or give into his anger. That is our challenge. When we are angry, when it seems as if life, which can seem so unfair at times, has us down, we are called to continue to live. We are called to continue to work towards bringing justice, peace, mercy, love and forgiveness into the world. We are still called to work at living into God’s kingdom here and now. Being angry is not a bad thing, it can open our eyes to injustice, it can let others know that we might be hurting, it can help us to feel empathy with those who might be living under the yoke of oppression and marginalization. So be angry, but also continue to hold tight to God , to love, justice, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Continue to hold tight to Christ.


Prayer

God of all humanity, we know that Jesus came to live a fully human life forgive us when we see Jesus as some perfect being that we know that we can never emulate in our own lives. Help us to see that in being fully human Jesus experienced all of life, the joys and celebrations, as well as the anger and frustrations. Give us the wisdom to see that throughout it all Jesus continued to live as you call us to live with love, mercy, compassion, justice, and most importantly forgiveness. Help us forgive ourselves  our own anger rather than ignoring it. Help us to continue to live as you call us to live, even when we are angry. We ask this in the name of the one who turned the tables, you son Jesus. Amen.

4 views0 comments
  • bigredchurch

ScriptureRevelation 21: 3 - 5

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,     “See, the home of God is among mortals.      He will dwell with them;      they will be his peoples,      and God himself will be with them;   4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.      Death will be no more;      mourning and crying and pain will be no more,      for the first things have passed away.”5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”


Reflection

I have been wondering a lot about sadness lately. That is not to say that I have been thinking about depression, but rather this idea of a sadness that is pensive and thoughtful. It can be challenging when one finds themselves in a place of sadness because in many ways the world doesn't do well with sadness. When we are feeling sad quite often those around us believe that they need to pressure us to find happiness, to find something other than the sadness in our lives. Society continually tells us that happiness needs to be our ultimate goal that we should all be happy and our lives will then be fine. I also believe that in this world of social media many people don't know how to interact with sadness.


There was a post that was found on Facebook that stated, "May your life be as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook." Rosalind Lewis, who is an educator in mental health, reflects on this statement in the following way, "I don't think it is so much that people pretend; it's more that people generally don't put on Facebook the struggles they have in life." In many ways we come to understand that the world does not understand our sadness. That to be sad in the world is not appropriate. In a world that affirms happy feelings, materialistic success, career achievements, academic qualifications, beauty and youth it is difficult to find space to speak about our feelings of struggle, emotional pain, and loneliness, growing older and just plain feeling sadness. The reality is that there is much in the world that can bring feelings of grief and sadness in our lives. There are many who feel disappointment in regards to lost opportunities. There are many who feel sadness because of how our lives have not turned out as they had hoped. Many of us feel deep sadness because of the challenges that we face due to so many events that are taking place in this world. We are all also struggling due to the ever present, on-going; violence that has affected all of our lives.


I think that there are many of us who recognize that sadness dances in our souls, and I believe that that is okay. It is okay to embrace the fact that we are sad, that sometimes finding happiness can be challenging in our lives. The scripture from Revelation reminds us that God is indeed present in our world right now. It gives us comfort because it helps us to see that even in our times of sadness God is among us, not pressuring us to change, but rather journeying with us in our times of sadness. So we can be sad, knowing that God is always with us. It is that comfort, knowing that we are not alone in our sadness that can help us to be okay, even when we are sad, for it is okay for us to acknowledge our sadness. It is okay for us to be sad at times and God is with us when we do.


But there is also something that each of us can do in the face of sadness, we can offer the gift of our presence. Ullie Kay, the poet, speaks to our role in the following way, “ the best medicine you can bring for sadness is not joy. It is not telling them that they need to move on or get over it or realize how much worst things could be. No. The medicine for a spirit in mourning is tenderness and warmth and compassion and connection and presence. Sit with someone in their grief and let them cry their ugly tears. Do not shine and scurry grief away. They must walk through it. This is love. To abandon all that we think we know and be so full of grace that we are invited in to partake in someone else’s darkest moments. What an honour it is to simply be a light. The antidote for sadness is love, it is always love.” To allow sadness to exist in our lives and in the lives of others is important.


I would like to end with another quote from Rosalind Lewis, "Today on a ride into the city on the tram, the sole of my boot was touching the plastic seat opposite me. An older man came towards me. I moved my foot for him to sit down. He very deliberately took out a tissue and wiped the plastic where the sole of my shoe had been. 'I'm sorry,' I said. He muttered very sternly, 'and so you should be!' and not a smile flickered upon his face. Feeling duly told off, I imagined the crust that covered over his sadness of spirit - the crust of bitterness, cynicism, and anger. I would rather be in touch with my sadness, painful as it is to feel, lest when I am old, I become bitter like him. For sadness keeps my heart soft."


Prayer

God of Infinite Presence, let me be sad. Give me the courage and strength to know when I am sad and to put words to my sadness in a world that would rather only speak to happy things. Give me knowledge that you are always with me, in those times of joy and celebration, but also in those times of grief and sadness. Help me to feel your gentle presence with me, supporting me, guiding me when I struggle. Give me the wisdom to know that it is okay to feel sad at times, that life can be difficult, but that we are never alone. We ask this in name of the one who came to walk with us, your son, Jesus. Amen.

5 views0 comments
bottom of page