Today’s Bible reading

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. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped 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: 4-10

More thoughts for meditation

One of my favorite movies is Life is Beautiful; it’s all about the power of reframing. A family is sent to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany; the little boy is separated from his mom, but the dad keeps his hopes up by playing a goofy game. He shields his son from some of the trauma of life in the concentration camp by using his imagination to reframe everything going on around them. The story is not easy, but the little boy is reconnected to his mother after the allies win the war. 

Reframing is a technique that therapists use to help people get beyond our self-defeating habits or to redefine difficult circumstances as not hopelessly crushing, but opportunities to learn and grow. Problems can become hopeful challenges. Reframing can give us a locus of control in situations where we might otherwise feel powerless. A good therapist knows that this isn’t just a cognitive exercise; it’s not just the power of positive thinking, it has to connect to real emotions, because that’s what motivates us humans to change our thoughts and behaviors. As in Life is Beautiful, the love that the father had for his family enabled him to reframe great suffering. Love might be the only reality that could enable someone to make such a drastic reframe.

We could say that the father was just avoiding reality, but is it avoidance to dig into the deeper and more penultimate reality that is love? I wonder if it’s not just a mind-game when you’re connecting to what’s really real; the presence of the Spirit. Eternity is in our hearts, as the Bible says. The suffering is real, but love is real too, and love provides something to the experience of suffering that speaks into it and brings hope. 

When people refer to the Holy Spirit as the really real it’s because our hearts know truth that our minds can’t always affirm as rational. That’s why all the most important stuff – repentance, forgiveness, faith, love, involves moving beyond the mind, into our hearts and bodies where we can feel compassion for ourselves and others. It can’t all be figured out intellectually, no matter how smart we become. We’re in the zone of mystery here in faith, because we are creatures as well as creators. We didn’t make life up – it was given to us. So the only way to “know” the most beautiful and sacred realities is through humility, openness, and gratitude.

Suggestions for action

Ponder the mystery of this moment. The resurrection of Jesus reframes our past, present, and future toward hope. If Jesus is alive, what is possible today? Or tomorrow?