Today’s Bible Reading 

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. — Luke 24:1-12

More Thoughts for Meditation

The gospels are clear that Jesus’s loved ones did not believe in his resurrection right away. Something else must have happened with his body, some terrible mischief. Maybe the Romans took it for a gruesome example of what happens to rebels. Maybe the Sanhedrin took it to burn or desecrate for an example of what happens to heretics. Maybe some merchant criminals took it to profit someone from the life of this mystery healer. Anything could have happened! But their first reaction was dark and fearful. They thought things probably got worse. They saw their Lord die a terrible death and now their own futures were so uncertain.

We all have different personalities, but fear is often part of our first response too. We are wired for survival so our brains try to prepare us for things getting worse. They do not consider any possibility of getting better. Getting another chance, getting what we want, getting back what we’ve lost would be nonsense, like the disciples concluded. Death is final. We must try to do the best we can with the cards we’ve been dealt, right?

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. It can even change our brains expecting the worst all the time, if we work with it. Work with it today! Notice how your fear can limit your hope and your expectations of what is possible all the time. What is Jesus saying to you instead? How can you hear him, and work with this unprecedented new explosion of possibilities? Can you bank on the reality that he can take you by the hand and lead you to new life, not just today, but always? That he is greater than all death and separation from God and each other, and everything else we may instinctually fear? Let him rewire your brain for what may seem like nonsense today, and give you new instincts for hope.

Suggestions for Action

Notice any fear or doubt or suspicion in you today and don’t let it surprise you. We’re wired for the worst. Talk to yourself instead about the truth that is so out of order, it gleams like lighting! God has won over fear and death and separation, forever. Tell yourself the first lines of George Herbert’s Easter poem:

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise

Without delays,

Who takes thee by hand, that thou likewise

With him mayst rise.

Rise up with the others at our sunrise vigil on Lemon Hill, and this evening in our meeting places all around the region. Let Jesus and the community of faith feed your hope and nourish your heart and your mind for unthinkably new possibilities this year.

It is Easter Sunday! — you might like to know some things about the history of the holiday. Visit Celebrating our Transhistorical Body.

It is also  John Leonhard Dober Day! –– visit this remarkable ancestor at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.