Sunday, April 09, 2006

April 16, 2006 - Year B -Easter

Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
I Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43
John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

Sabbath is prelude. There is evening (1) and morning (2). The first day of the week begins again. A new earth and new heaven continue underway.

Easter is tied with these progressions.

Our difficulty is that of taking a snapshot and trying to see it in three- or four- or more-D. In some sense we are vaccinated, year by year, with the static theory of eggs and bunnies and butterflies. We have a devil of a time getting our minds around resurrection, whether it be resuscitation or reincarnation or some other re-.

Mark might well be our guide here with his dramatic ending of fear and silence. Without these Easter is but a variation on a bonnet parade, full of sound and fury, signifying naught.

What is your fear and silence quotient this year?


  1. John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

    Did the women run away, end of story? Did Mary Magdalene run on telling the story? Did Mark or John get this detail accurately? Both, you say, then what can't you excuse?

    Do the shorter and longer additions to Mark make his gospel more palatable?

    Is an unrecognizable Jesus attributable to an internal state on the part of Mary and Cleopas or an external state of Jesus?

    If our imaginations have not been captured along the way with Jesus life, these questions are but interesting speculations. If we have followed the story and connected it to our lives with an increasing hope and actual investment of life, resurrection becomes a viable conclusion to reach. But it is not the details that prove anything. They merely complete the suspension of our disbelief - the unchangableness of our past and present can be moved on to a new day in a new way.

    May you bless Easter by beginning a new 8th day of creation after a night of resting in peace.

  2. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43

    G*D shows no partiality . . . in appearing to all.

    There is a popular presumption that Jesus' appearances were to a limited number and occurred immediately after Easter. In these passages we find out that those who considered themselves witness of Jesus noted his appearance. It happened with Mary Magdalene, the Emmaus wanderers, the Twelve, more than 500, and later with Saul/Paul. That is a variety of settings, numbers of people, and timings.

    Listen again to there being no partiality. As the star of old appeared in the sky, some got it and some didn't. As Jesus lived and taught and wondered/miracled, some got it and some didn't. It would not at all be surprising for Jesus to appear to many (including Peter at the tomb?), some got it and some didn't.

    The difference may not be Jesus' appearance, but, like Thomas, our not being ready to acknowledge an appearance that would shift our focus one more time.

    Even at this late date, G*D’s partiality is not compromised. Easter appearances still are made, even on a Tuesday prior to Easter. Did you notice the "crack in the cosmic egg" just widened a bit. An interview of Joseph Chilton Pearce (author of said crack) casts some light on what is caught and what passes by. Are you keeping your metaphoric education alive?

  3. Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

    Steadfast love endures forever.

    This is a lens through which we can posit a sense of connection beyond our experience. It has been going on since before we were conscious of being. It goes on long after we cease consciousness. It is not tied to body, mind, spirit, or relationship. It simply is and we have choices about how we will respond to it.

    We can presume upon it and get away with what we can and rely upon some deathbed conversion to make it all right. We can desire to expand its presence in our dealings with creation and others and leave the dying process to care for itself.

    To have a warmed heart that experiences a touch of such steadfast love is to focus life anew. It is a welcoming into the strange world of resurrections. A vehicle bringing such an awareness may be very specific or cosmically and comically diffuse. Whatever that vehicle is, it might be termed "the Lord's doing."

    May your reception and continuing of such an enduring quality find your own life being recognized as "the Lord's doing." In this light we find such a time as this is the resurrection that the Lord has made and we can rejoice and be glad in it.

  4. Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

    This is poetry. Poetry may be the only way to respond to resurrection.

    Here is a resurrection poem from D.H. Lawrence, New Heaven and Earth

    Do you have a favorite resurrection poem (in addition to the poem that is your life)?

  5. Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9

    God shows no partiality. There is a time for all things. A time for a feast and a time for destruction. A time for being praised for doing good and a time for being hanged for doing good.

    We tend to think in series and if one expectation goes awry, all our expectations are dimmed or deleted. In a series you have hierarchy the first resistance needs to paid attention to and then the next. While the last can stop the whole chain it is generally best to check from first to last to see where the problem is.

    God tends to be in parallel. If something goes awry the circuit continues. In parallel it is easier to see where the difficulty is. It is in this way that no partiality be shown. All that is needed is to care for the situation at hand.

    The recent March 29, 2006 issue of The Onion carried one of their lovely heretical cartoons that had Jesus being crucified on parallel pieces of wood rather than a cross. How else might you look at life the through parallel eyes of no partiality?

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  7. John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

    In John, Mary M. is all over getting to the bottom of Jesus' disappearance, like a dog on a bone. She goes after friend Peter. When that doesn't avail, it's look into herself. Then it is just hang around, almost Columbo-like, checking out who else is around. So intent is she that when she finally finds the culprit, wascally wabbit, she falls back on, "What's up, Doc?"

    In Mark, Mary M. can hardly wait to get out.

    John's rough-and-tumble Mary seems closer to the image I have in my head and rings truer to my heart. But I must admit I have a certain appreciation for Mark's consistent presentation of the disciples as those who don't get it. Glad to have the women join us guys in finally running away, even if it is long after we had cut-and-run.

    As we draw nigh to Easter, may we recognize it ain't over 'til its over. This is true of both death and resurrection. Some of us get caught with a tropism toward one or the other, others just go on their merry way. Whether we are focused on the half-empty of death, the half-full of resurrection, or the full-inertia of other fish to fry, it is helpful to know the other stories. We will eventually get to all the possibilities.

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