Miriam's Song

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Year A, Easter 3: Slow Hearts, Same Grace

Photo © Kristi Corbin

This Week's Reflection
Jesus was brutally killed and buried. Now, some folks are spreading a rumor that he is alive and coming to visit his followers. Then, Cleopas, the only named disciple in the gospel text, has this bizarre encounter with the Risen Lord who first exegetes all the scriptures, then breaks bread, then disappears before they can even ask to see those wounds that Thomas was adamant about seeing for himself.

I'm a theme kind of a person. Some weeks, trying to pull a unified theme from the lectionary readings is not easy. If I had to title the theme that stands out to me this week, I would call it "Slow Hearts, Same Grace."

I was astounded that in the encounter with Thomas, Jesus honors his doubts, his questions, his need for better understanding. And, I am astounded that the risen Christ continues to honor these questions, these doubts, by appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus may very well be frustrated by a lack of understanding in his disciples; however, that does not keep him from providing for their needs. "In this broken bread, you are reminded of me." And, in that encounter, the grace bestowed on the first disciples to believe that he was alive is bestowed upon those who are "slow of heart" all the same.

In the Acts reading we see Peter preaching to folks, calling them out for not following Jesus at all, for, in fact, c0ntributing to his death. Instead of writing them off as lost, Peter shares with them the good news and gives them the opportunity to become followers of Christ as well. Slow of heart, they may be, but they receive the very same grace of Jesus anyway.

The patience of God may be what astounds me the most. I often feel slow of heart. I, like Paul, do those things I know I shouldn't and refuse to do what I know I should. And, yet, God continues to bestow upon me the same grace that was provided to Mary right outside the tomb. Slow heart, same grace. Thanks be to God!

This Week's Lectionary Texts

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

2:14a: But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
2:36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified."
2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"
2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
2:39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him."
2:40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
116:2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
116:3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
116:4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, save my life!"
116:12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.
116:16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
116:17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the LORD.
116:18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
116:19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

1 Peter 1:17-23
1:17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.
1:18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,
1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
1:20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.
1:21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
1:22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.
1:23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Luke 24:13-35
24:13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
24:14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,
24:16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
24:17 And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad.
24:18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"
24:19 He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
24:20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.
24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.
24:22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,
24:23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.
24:24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him."
24:25 Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!
24:26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?"
24:27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
24:28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.
24:29 But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them.
24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
24:31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
24:32 They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"
24:33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.
24:34 They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!"
24:35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
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This Week's Art
Some artwork that resonates for me with the texts this week.
Clicking on the artists will take you to their websites.


Believe
© 2011 Kathleen Tennant


Misty Stream
© Sharon France


© Kristi Corbin