Saturday in Easter Week | By Kris Paul
Acts 4:13-21 | Psalm 118:14-18 | Mark 16:9-15,20
Happy Easter! Alleluia, the Lord is Risen!
We are resurrection people. I have heard that saying many times. It is true, of course, but I have to admit, it feels a little easier to say when we have gotten to read the last page of the book, don’t you think?
I try to imagine how the disciples were feeling this week. They had been so thrilled to be with Jesus, things were going to be different, they could just feel it. And then, they weren’t.
The disciples, in that moment, didn’t know that we were resurrection people. Yes, Jesus talked about it, but they didn’t know it, they didn’t trust it.
Despite hearing from Mary Magdalene and the 2 on the road to Emmaus and no one believed them. His most trusted friends could not believe that Jesus had returned...as he said he would. They could not comprehend that power, that love, or what that meant. I wonder if we would believe.
Faith is hard and it can be scary. Imagine Mary, a woman, running into this room full of men and proclaiming the Risen Lord. What courage she must have had to impose herself in such a way and to make such a claim. Could we do it??
Jesus scolds the disciples for their lack of faith. This is a room full of “believers” who had slept, and denied, and fled when he needed them most. Then he returns and starts spreading the word and they blow him off again. And despite the fact that Jesus scolds them for their lack of faith, I am so grateful for their lack of faith. Because it makes my lack of faith seem less overwhelming. Why?
Because Jesus doesn’t just scold them and leave. Jesus doesn’t go find other people to do the work. In fact, Jesus doesn’t abandon us at all. Jesus comes back, time and time again, realizing over and over how far short we will fall in our faith, and he forgives. But, there is more to the story, Jesus has work for them to do: ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news*to the whole creation.’ That’s the part of this story where we come in. How do we do that?
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, GA. It was an incredibly moving day and I highly encourage you to visit if you can. While we were there, we got to have lunch and hear from Dr. Catherine Meeks, the Executive Director and she spoke of not creating a safe space but a brave space and trying to be a few shades braver.
That resonates with me because life with Christ is disruptive. Jesus didn’t come back, go into the room with the disciples, scold them for their lack of faith and then see, ‘ok, do you feel better now? Good. Now you are safe, stay here with all the people who look and act and think like you and all will be well!”
No. The disciples, and we, are called to go out and face a world full of people who don’t look like us, act like us, love like us, believe like us, or, well, even like us at all and proclaim the Good News. But how? We can feel so small sometimes, what can we really do to answer Jesus’ call?
Maybe it is about being a little better today than yesterday. Maybe it’s about believing a little bit more today than yesterday that Jesus loves and can save the people in this world you despise the most. Maybe it is about praying for those whom you would rather hate and asking others to do the same.
We are resurrection people! Can we be a few shades braver in our faith that God is with us, that God will be with us no matter what, that God loves us completely and will hold us, love us, and forgive us always. And can we live our lives as examples of that grace-filled gift. We don’t need to go out and change the world in one fell swoop...we need to change ourselves and let the world see us do it. That’s what happened in that room. That is what can happen in this room if we all can just be a few shades braver, we can find a way to the world Jesus wants us to experience.