Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

Category: After resurrection (Page 2 of 2)

April 15, 2020 — Hello to you in this locked room

Jesus is risen!  This is the third post in a series exploring the visitations and teaching 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

Stone Wave, Leslie Bartlett

Today’s Bible reading

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I send you.”  — John 20:19-21

More thoughts for meditation

I’m often guilty of thinking of the resurrection in theological rather than practical terms, reducing it to a spiritual proof that balances the Bible’s equation.  Jesus’s appearance to his disciples in the upper room offers a necessary perspective — a resurrection showing up in a room that smells of fear.

The disciples had reason to lock the doors.  Their teacher had just been put to death for fomenting rebellion and heresy; and temple guards were looking to disrupt the movement. The room was locked from the inside, each one living in their own disappointments and anxieties.  There was likely recrimination and self loathing for having abandoned their teacher. Faith shelters some and shadows others. It is into this space that Jesus appears saying, “Peace be with you.” Padraig O’Tuama relates that this phrase was a standard greeting across multiple languages of the time.  Jesus greets them as a friend, hello to you in this locked room. The door remains locked and the disciples’ circumstances do not seem to change. In the shadow of the upper room, the Lord offers a new insight into the kingdom. The shelter of restored relationships as God is making things right.  

Suggestions for action

Consider the rooms you enter this week.  Be mindful to enter those spaces in the spirit of Jesus.  Lead with peace rather than solutions, love rather than fixes.  It is enough to focus on relationship with the knowledge that God is making things right. 

Today is Corrie Ten Boom Day! Visit this Dutch holocaust survivor and evangelist at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

April 14, 2020 — Hello to women who have gone before

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.


April 13, 2020 — Hello to being known

Jesus is risen! It is recorded that our resurrected Lord spent 40 days visiting and teaching before departing to be with the Father.  This week our daily prayer will read along with Padraig O’Tuama to consider seven of these interactions. O’Tuama is a poet, theologian, and peacemaker whose book, In the Shelter, will help guide us.  

St. John’s Bible depiction of Mary seeing Jesus — http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/

Today’s Bible reading

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying. One at the head and the other at the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”. She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him”. When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (Teacher!).  — John 20:11-16

More thoughts for meditation

It is difficult to read this passage of Jesus’s first resurrection appearance without hearing Mary’s pain and desperation. She seems to be blinded by sorrow; pleading with the gardener to reveal the location of her Lord’s body. Jesus encounters Mary in the depths of her grief and gently calls her by name. O’Tuama points out the beauty of this garden experience in which,

It is only here, in hearing her name spoken, that she sees what she could not previously see, that the gardener is the Gardener; and that the body is the Body and that what was dead is now beyond death. 

He notes the echo of Eden in which God sees us in our distress and calls us by name. Hearing the voice of her beloved Lord, Mary perceives what she could not see. It is a gift to be people of the resurrection, to see and be seen, to be called by name as an intimate. Hello to meeting God where we do not expect to see him.  

Suggestions for action

Many of us, our friends, and neighbors have difficulty seeing God amid the anxious expectation and grief.  Pray that the Lord may allow you to see those in your sphere, especially those who are isolated and living alone, ways of being made more difficult by the quarantine.  Reach out in love to them and call them by name. Make sure they know they are seen.  

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