Jesus is risen.  This is the second post in a series examining the teachings and visitations of the resurrected Christ.  Jesus sojourned with his disciples for 40 days before departing to be with the Father. The daily prayer will be considering passages from Padriag O’Tuama’s book, In the Shelter, to help guide this study.

Mosaic of Bishop Theodora (820 AD) in a side chapel in St. Praxedis Church, Rome.

Today’s Bible reading

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” — Matthew 28:8-10

More thoughts for meditation

There is an Irish saying, Ar scath a cheile a mahaireas na daoine, which Padraig O’Tuama translates as, “it is in the shelter of each other that people live.”  In the closing chapter of Matthew’s gospel we find several of Jesus’s female followers have gone to the garden tomb to tend and anoint the body of Christ. Meanwhile, the disciples are sheltered together in a room.  We can imagine grief and vulnerability driving the followers of Jesus to seek comfort from one another. The loss is shared. The vision of the kingdom is eclipsed.  

It is notable that Jesus appears to the women first. They, after all, have sheltered the ministry “out of their means” (Luke 8:10).  It was the women who risked attending the crucifixion and who were at the tomb to serve. Jesus honors the women as he lays down a marker for equality in the emerging kingdom economy.  The male disciples will hear of the resurrection from voices their culture deemed untrustworthy or lesser. O’Tuama writes that, “we have the capacity to make doors as sharp as they are open, branding those who enter or maiming those that leave” and “surely by now we must know that we are plural.”  We would be wise to consider which voices we preference and why.

Suggestions for action

“We walk k in the company of women who have gone before.”

Here is a litany honoring women from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals:  

a litany to honor women

we walk in the company of the women who have gone before, mothers of the faith both named and unnamed,
testifying with ferocity and faith to the spirit of wisdom and healing.

they are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, poets, lovers and saints who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.

we walk in the company of deborah,
who judged the israelites with authority and strength.

we walk in the company of esther,
who used here position as queen to ensure the welfare of her people.

we walk in the company of your whose names have been lost and silenced,
who kept and cradled the wisdom of the ages.

we walk in the company of the woman with the flow of blood,
who audaciously sought her healing and release.

we walk in the company of mary magdalene,
who wept at the empty tomb until the risen christ appeared.

we walk in the company of phoebe,
who led an early church in the empire of rome.

we walk in the company of perpetua of carthage,
who witness in the third century led to her martyrdom.

we walk in the company of st. christian the astonishing,
who resisted death with persistence and wonder.

we walk in the company of julian of norwich,
who wed imagination and theology, proclaiming “all shall be well”.

we walk in the company of sojourner truth,
who stood against oppression, righteously declaring in 1852, “ain’t i a woman!”

we walk in the company of the argentine mothers of the plaza de mayo,
who turned their grief to strength, standing together to remember “the disappeared” children of war with a holy indignation.

we walk in the company of alice walker,
who named the lavender hue of womanly strength.

we walk in the company of you mothers of the faith,
who teach us to resist evil with boldness, to lead with wisdom, and to heal.