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Wednesday Wondering - April 10, 2024

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.

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