The Gospel reading is a story that we’re familiar with, but have we really looked at what the story is telling us? Mary Magdalene came to the tomb before dawn, and found the stone rolled away. Did she cheer because Jesus had risen as he said he would? No, she worried that someone had stolen his body. Next, she ran to some disciples who were on their own way to the tomb.
One disciple looked into the tomb and saw the burial clothes without the body. Another walked into the tomb, found the shroud laid in one place, and the napkin which had covered his head neatly placed somewhere else in the tomb. And they went home.
A great gift has been presented to them, and the ones closest to Jesus did not recognize it!
The gospel reading for today is by far one of the longest in the church year, and for the most part, it is one of the better known. But, the Bible often presents more than is obvious, and this is no exception. Two details reveal that there is much more to be known.
That the Temple veil was torn in two says much. But, the veil was not some flimsy fabric. It was a thick, heavy cloth which separated the Holy of Holies from everyone and everything else. If it was torn from top to bottom, it did not happen easily and it might imply something about the relationship between people and God.
That the earthquake caused graves to open and the people in those graves to come alive and appear to people in Jerusalem had to have a powerful implication. Jesus would do that himself soon, but there is no story of it happening before. What might this mean? Some powerful questions for us to ponder!
Things happen during prayer and meditation. But I’ve also noticed some strange preconceived notions about what happens in prayer and meditation. Most often, such ideas are spread by people who have no real experience in either prayer or meditation.
How to get things to really happen? The answer is right out there in front of you. In fact, a popular Beatles song summed up most of it. Some people devote their lives to this pursuit, but here is an introduction to get yours working.
A very basic lesson we need to understand is the importance of giving God a chance to fulfill a promise. And so, we have the story of Isaac and Ishmael. This is not a case of waiting for “God’s time”, but rather the fullness of time.
God promised Abraham that his wife Sarah would give birth to a son who would be named Isaac. But Sarah did not believe she could have a child at her age, and so he let Abraham use her servant Hagar as a surrogate. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, who was given a different inheritance than the one promised to Isaac.