Things have been very active at our online community. Lots of visits -- lots of discussion -- lots of people seeking community. Lot's of people experiencing God's unconditional love and God's extravagant welcome.
I've written a new blog article about one of Jesus' appearances to the disciples. It's called "Terror, peace and broiled fish."
It's too soon for these early followers of Jesus to grasp the resurrection. Forget whether they would believe it actually happened at some time in the future or whether Bible scholars would debate it's validity a couple thousand years later. These followers were still reeling from the death of their leader -- and now there were reports that he was back! This week's Bible reading is from Luke 24:36b-43.
I can imagine feelings of sadness, anguish, fear, helplessness and hopelessness from the disciples. And then Jesus is in the room with them and says, 'Peace be with you." I think it's the kind of statement that in this case diffused all the fear and sadness and uneasiness in the room -- or at least most of it.
Jesus still had some convincing to do. Showed them his hands and feet. He ate broiled fish in front of the disciples to prove that he was flesh and blood and not some kind of ghost. And then it says that he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
It must've been quite a rush. I don't know what the disciples experienced, but I imagine something like a long-closed door opening to an undiscovered room in a house -- or maybe a fresh breeze blowing into a long-sealed cave.
Then Jesus gave them a job. "You are witnesses of these things." The disciples were to go and tell the story.
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It would be too easy to say, "Jesus is bringing peace to your life, too. It doesn't matter what kind of fear you have -- Jesus can open your mind and make you ready to tell the story."
But it sounds too easy and shallow to wrap it up so nicely.
I think there's something much deeper here. I think that even though the disciples received Jesus peace and even though they had their minds opened to what they'd experienced, they were in for something that was more terrifying than what they'd just experienced. The peace Jesus gave them may have showed them that Jesus presence was going to go with them no matter what, but there were mistakes to be made, feelings to be hurt, anger to feel and still love to share.
Jesus ate fish to show that he was real. He wasn't and isn't some fairy tale that ends with "happily ever after." Jesus calls us to tell the story. It's not one that is sweet and nice. It's not one that is easy to understand. It's not one that everyone is going to love.
But it is a story of love. Jesus' love.
How are you telling the story?