Even after they heard

“But even after they heard the news, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him.” –Mark 16:11 CEB

I am trying to imagine how frustrating this must have been for Mary.

She has seen Jesus.

Seen Jesus.

And when she announces the news, they don’t believe it, they don’t believe her.

Can you imagine how she felt?

It’s Complicated

For the most part, our church pays more attention to the church calendar than the calendar of Hallmark-inspired holidays. So our gathering Sunday will be focused on the fourth week of Easter. But without question, the elephant in the room will be Mother’s Day.

Throughout my years of ministry, Mother’s Day at church has always been, how shall I say, complicated.

Complicated.

Some families will have three, maybe four, generations of happy mothers with their children. Others will be mourning the fresh loss of a mother or grandmother.

Complicated.

Some mothers will be snuggling their second or third baby while other women will be silently suffering infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths.

Complicated.

Some will enter the gathering with thanksgiving for a tender, loving mother who taught them about and showed them the kindness and grace of God. Others will come, dragging behind them heavy memories of being assaulted, neglected, abandoned, or abused by the one person above all who they should have been able to trust.

Complicated.

And with a day this complicated, what could be better than a fourth week of remembering, wrestling with, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

It takes a season

Our Easter Sunday text, Luke 24:1-12, left us amazed, perplexed, and wondering along with Peter and the others.

Discovering an unexpectedly empty leaves us with a lot to ponder. Hearing news about that empty tomb sounds at first like nonsense. A bodily resurrection gives us a lot to process.

So I am glad Easter is a season rather than just a day. I need time to wonder.

A Prayer for Easter Sunday

Living God,

Some Sundays we come dragging in to the worship gathering
with a head that is battling doubts.

Are You there?
Why did You…?
Why didn’t You…?
Has this all been a waste of our time?

Some Sundays we come dragging in to the worship gathering
with a heart that is running on empty.

Tired from seeking.
Exhausted from serving.
Worn out from sacrificing.
Can we possibly carry on?

Some days we come dragging in to the worship gathering
with a life depleted by people.

People with their problems.
People with their imperfections.
People with their insensitivity.
Would it be OK to just isolate ourselves?

Some Sundays we come dragging in to the worship gathering
struggling with faith, hope, and love.

But today we remember that Friday
when the chosen scattered
and the sky grew dark
and the ground shook
and the tombs opened
and the veil in the temple was torn
and the Prince of Peace was terminated.

And we think of the faith, hope, and love
struggles of all who had followed Jesus.

And we remember that Sunday
when early in the morning they realized
Jesus was alive and nothing
would ever be the same.

Today we remember the cross
as we ready our hearts and our heads
for our time Together Sunday.

We prepare to gather Together
with expectancy and anticipation
that Jesus is still alive
and He will meet us there
in a room full of people
who gather in spite of
hopelessness,
doubt, and
discouragement.

Together we will proclaim:
Jesus is alive!

Ready our hearts, o God!

We pray in Jesus’ name,
AMEN

Living the Resurrection Life

We are resurrected when…

  • We reach out to say, “I love you.”
  • We really let something hurtful go, and we don’t pick it up again.
  • We give freely without hope of recompense. We do small things with love.
  • We wake up to the now, and see the beauty that is all around us.
  • We are grateful for a hot cup of coffee or sunlight bouncing on a vase of flowers.
  • We ignore social standings and bank accounts in others.
  • We dare to use our gifts.
  • We give and receive loving or kind touch.
  • We welcome the stranger.

from Healing Troubled Hearts by Lyn Holley Doucet, pages 190-191

An Unresurrected Jesus

“In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept. Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. Moreover, Easter means he must be loose out there somewhere.”

– Philip Yancey