Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Joyful Disbelief: Year B, Easter 3

This Week's Lectionary Texts:
Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

"Disbelieving Joy"
This Week's Reflection:
The phrase from the gospel lesson for this week that stands out to me is "While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering . . ." I just love this idea of being full of joy even in the midst of disbelieving and wondering. I mean, come on, Jesus was dead and now he is appearing to his friends in all kinds of places. Who wouldn't still be filled with wonder and some feelings of disbelief that it is all just too good to be true? 

I think about the first few days after we brought my son home from the hospital. He was our first born and ended up staying in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a week. It was the absolute worst week of my life and when we finally had our new baby home, while I should have been overjoyed and at peace, I found myself scared to death something was going to go horribly wrong. I was filled with joy. There is no doubt about that. And, at the same time, it seemed too good to be true and I found it difficult to believe that it would be smooth sailing from then on. I wondered if everything would be okay or if we would find ourselves back at the hospital - or worse.

This third week of Easter leads us through this kind of feeling. We are experiencing the resurrected Christ, but it feels too good to be true. We are reminded through Acts and 1 John that forgiveness and life that is really life can be ours, but we hold our breath waiting for something to go wrong. I like to think that this is a natural reaction. Like the disciples who were able to be filled with joy while struggling through their disbelief and wonder, we journey with Jesus as we struggle through our own disbelief. 

Work by Hi Qi
The really wonderful thing is that Jesus honors this, moves forward by asking for something to eat, and sits with us as we arrive at the truth that is sitting in front of us. I love that he honors my disbelief and gives me permission to be filled with joy even before I have all the answers. In fact, he lovingly opens our minds to the scriptures and guides us gently along. Too good to be true? Yes, yes it is. And, it is true nonetheless.