“This is the second difficulty of praying ‘Thy will be done’ – that God’s will for one moment will become our idol in the next.”
And the soldiers—the protectors of civil order— decide to bury the truth. They take their bribe and the promise of protection from Pilate’s wrath, and they toe the party line. They protect the power of a broken world.But the women—the ones with little influence, the ones who are least likely to be believed—they run from the empty tomb with great joy. It is only as they are obedient to the angel’s command that Jesus himself appears to them.
And in our gospel passage, Mary of course – like all of us on this side of death – is not yet fully awake. She makes first contact with the resurrected Jesus, and it’s about as awkward as Peter embarrassing himself by trying to pitch a tent on Mount Tabor. Mary’s problem is that she thinks Jesus is dead, and when she sees that he’s gone, she consoles herself by saying, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
Mary Fletcher was the first woman John Wesley permitted to preach in the 1770s. Her journals, diaries, and letters embody the largest collection of Methodist papers in existence with the sole exception of John Wesley’s papers. There are times I’ve wondered if a Lenten fast is nullified by Easter feasting. But in reading Mary Fletcher’s journals, noting the ebb and flow with which she made entries, I understood her seasons of profuse writing were not negated by the seasons of terseness.
“Providence does not mean that we have no free will. God’s providence does not rule out human freedom. Providence is not opposed to cooperation with God. Providence does not mean we are off the hook or that we have no sense of responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Rather, we cooperate with God as we grow in our faith by practicing spiritual disciplines or the means of grace.”
A wise art teacher used to say, “Make art that won’t be burnt up.” He meant, make art that will outlast the last judgment. Make art that will count as one of the “glories of the nations” brought into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:26). Beauty attracts us, even when our reasons are unconvinced.
In this mysterious moment, known to history as “the Transfiguration,” Jesus reveals to the disciples his true nature. And to their shock, his true nature is the glory of God shining from his face. Present with the disciples, and beholding the same incredible sight, is Moses, the prophet who had asked on Mt. Sinai to see God’s glory. Only now, on Mt. Tabor, does he get what he hoped for. Only in Jesus does he see God face to face.
Good leadership requires self-awareness: a leader knowing herself by acknowledging her gifts and limits to set herself up for success.
I am now learning to grieve. And my Dad isn’t here to teach me. C.S. Lewis noted after the death of his wife that he didn’t know grief felt so much like fear. The fear I have is that I won’t grieve – or that I won’t grieve well. I have had my tears, but what is grief supposed to look like? How will I know I’ve grieved?
Churches have personalities, expressed through their organization, Christian education
processes, preaching, and worship. Each can have strengths and challenges, but the diversity is reflective of the differences we see in people, including the
Instead of focusing on which
organizational structure or form of worship we prefer, we need to ask if our church is manifesting Christ to the world.