Fear - Reflections 4-12-18

 For Sunday April 15

 Third Sunday of  Easter

 Luke 24:36b-48


 The last three Sundays, we have heard, from 3 different Gospels, how fearful the disciples were that first Easter day. 

 The Easter Sunday gospel from Mark says that the women at the empty tomb were so terrified that they told no one what they had found (an empty tomb). The next Sunday’s gospel from John finds the disciples, on Easter evening, locked behind closed doors. Earlier, Mary Magdalene had come and told them that she had seen Jesus. But they were still afraid that the religious authorities would be after them as Jesus’ followers - or maybe after them even more so now that the body was missing. 

And on the third Sunday of Easter coming this week, in Luke, the disciples have just heard a third “Jesus sighting”, this time from a couple of disciples who ran back from Emmaus where they recognized Jesus “in the breaking of the bread”. The reading starts where the disciples are startled and terrified when the risen Jesus stands among them.

I am not suggesting that fear is inappropriate here. Dead people are supposed to stay dead. That a dead person is no longer dead has changed everything. Every. Thing. And everything changing unexpectedly and abruptly is scary.

What does this change mean for Jesus’ followers? Well, in this text, Jesus tells them that “You are witnesses of these things.” You know, things like his death on a cross, and his resurrection on the third day. Things like repentance and forgiveness. Things like freedom from death, sin, and fear. 

We present day folks are also witnesses. But, I think we too  fear the resurrection.  We live fairly cautiously (me included). It is pretty hard to talk about resurrection as life-bringing and life-giving when being cautious. 

I was reading a book by N.T. Wright recently. The title is  Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. I like the image of hope surprising us on Easter. There is a lot of non-hopeful stuff in my life and world right now. Hope changes everything. Some how I don't feel quite so cautious about hope. I don't know why. I will have to think about that.

How about you?

What fears do you use to justify a cautious rather than a live-giving faith? 

Have you ever been surprised by hope?

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245