In today’s podcast, we are celebrating the defining mystery of our Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our reading from John 20 captures everything of this profound moment in history.
When we join this story, Jesus has been crucified at the hands of the authorities. His followers have taken his body and buried it in a cave-like tomb and rolled a large stone over the opening to seal it. A day passes as they sink into grief and bewilderment. How could the one they believed to be the messiah have died so horribly?
The next day, in the early morning while it is still dark, one of Jesus’ disciples, Mary Magdalene, comes to the tomb. She is horrified to find that the stone has been rolled away. Her first thought is that someone has actually desecrated the grave by taking the body of Jesus.
As Mary waits, sobbing, outside the tomb, she sees a person she thinks is the gardener and begs him to show her where Jesus is. Then this mysterious figure speaks her name simply: Mary. With this, she recognizes that he is Jesus, very much alive.
The moment Jesus rose is the hinge on which everything else turns. It is the reason for our hope, and the source of our joy. Please join us around the virtual table as we reflect on the Easter story and the meaning of resurrection. Alleluia, Christ is risen!
We have now come to the end of our Lenten observance. This weekend, we are crossing the threshold into the short but intense season of Holy Week, so called because it brings us closest to the great mystery of God’s love.
Holy Week leads us into Easter by leading us to the cross. Four important church services give shape to the Holy Week pilgrimage. Palm Sunday recalls Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Thursday, we remember the last supper and Jesus’ betrayal at the garden of Gethsemane. Good Friday marks crucifixion and death of Jesus. There is no service during the day on Saturday to observe the reality of Jesus lying in the tomb.
What do you find meaningful in Holy Week? How is Holy Week speaking to you in 2021? Feel free to join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.
In today’s podcast, we jump nine chapters ahead fromlast week to John 12:20-33, which looks toward the crucifixion through the image of a grain of wheat that dies.
The passage starts with some people from outside the Jewish faith wanting to talk with Jesus. This is a symbolic moment in Jesus’ ministry. It leads to a reflection on the deeper meaning of what he is working to accomplish.
Jesus starts to look ahead to his painful death on the cross using the metaphor of a seed. A grain of wheat must be buried in the ground to die before it bears life. Similarly, we are all to see ourselves in the grain of wheat that dies. This leads to a conversation between Jesus and God the Father that some hear as thunder from Heaven. Then, Jesus gives a final reflection that his death is not just a tragedy, but it is the judgement of the world, drawing all people to Christ through the cross.
Join us on this final Sunday in Lent around the virtual table as we plumb the rich depths of this reading, exploring the significance of Jesus’ upcoming death and what it means to ‘die to oneself’.