Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Between a Rock and A Hard Place
I enter the post Easter readings today a little sheepishly, as my reflections have been missing the last three Sundays. However, what a shame it would be to stayed behind the locked door of these feelings and miss the opportunity to begin today with the gifts these readings are offering me.
The readings of the last several weeks have called us from hearing about miracles into living miracles. This is what I have heard over the past weeks. I heard the reading of Jesus calling Lazarus out of the cave, out from a place of death. I heard the reading of the passion and each reading punctuating the high and low points of the Tridium. I call these readings, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” Jesus and his loved ones were pushing against the cultural and religious accepted understandings of the day in those readings. Lazarus and Jesus came out of a dark place, death due to natural causes for one, and the other dead due to a greater message of love and forgiveness.
Both experienced the stone rolled away. Those expecting far different endings were challenged to consider options that pushed them beyond their comfort zone. In the Easter reading we heard the angel say to Mary of Magdela, “Do not be afraid, He is risen.” In the gospel today, Jesus appears to his disciples, who have locked themselves into a room due to fear of the Jews. They don’t know what to expect from the powerful and the fearful, who not very many days ago killed, Jesus with the thieves on the crosses.
It is so simple for me in hindsight to judge the motive of those sited as the villains who killed Jesus. However, I definitely connect with the disciples who are afraid of what may happen next, now that Jesus was found to be missing from his tomb. In the midst of this fear and unknowing Jesus stands among them and says again to them,
“Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Imagine for a moment what it felt like for those disciples gathered to hear with their ears; then their hearts were anointed by the Holy Spirit. The disciples were called from fear to a deep seated peace. Eventually this peace and healing propelled them outside that locked room to preach the Good News. Christ anointed them to offer people forgiveness for their actions which separated them from the message for which He was crucified.
Today, as we allow the Easter message to melt into our hearts, let us look for opportunities to share with others that peace that surpasses our understanding; and that forgiveness which unites us with all who seek to walk the message of peace.