A Devotion for Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Matthew 28:1-10 (NRSV)
1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
“Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid;
go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
I envy those first disciples. They heard Jesus teach. They experienced firsthand the rising wonder that swirled around him: might he be … could he be … God’s chosen one? Then their hearts were crushed with an intensity I don’t want to imagine as they saw Jesus arrested and crucified. But in this passage – still reeling from the crucifixion – they receive a personal invitation to see Jesus again.
That’s especially what I envy. The chance to rest my eyes on a once-again living, breathing Jesus. That’s when it hits me. Jesus already told me where I can see him. Not in Galilee but in those who are sick, naked, hungry, thirsty, homeless, or in prison. (See Matt. 25:34-40.) I want to say, “Yes, but it’s not the same.” And, of course, I’m right, in a way. Yet I will see Jesus in my neighbors in need. That’s my Galilee.
Prayer: Jesus, deepen my faith by showing up for me in my life and in the lives of others in need. Amen.
Footnote: We also have a promise of “seeing Jesus” another place in our lives … as we gather around the table and receive bread and wine, his body and blood present with and for us – a place where we can see, touch, taste and receive Jesus and be assured of his promises, for us.
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
Joshua 3:1-17 (NRSV)
1 Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim with all the Israelites, and they came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing over. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, 4 so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it.”
5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6 To the priests Joshua said, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on in front of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people.
7 The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. 8 You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'”
9 Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” 10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: 11 the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. 12 So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”
14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. 15 Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, 16 the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
For your personal reflection: Read the passage aloud once, let it settle in your mind. Then read it silently, to yourself. Again let it settle in your mind, and in your heart. Then read it aloud one more time, and reflect on what it might mean for you, and for living our your faith – especially in these days.
If you like, do a journal to write down your thoughts. If you can share this with a spouse or other home companion (child, parent), you can take turns reading the passage aloud – one reading the first time, the other the second time – then after the second reading aloud, you could share your thoughts with each other.
I hope this can be a meaningful opportunity for you in your personal devotions this week!
Hymn for Reflection:
“Just a Closer Walk With Thee” (ELW #697) Lyrics Below
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
– 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter for our elderly friends at Senior Star (there’s a bin in the breezeway where you can place them) – or for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Daneilson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery.
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork – for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Sign up to ring the church bells to send the message to our community that God is with us in the midst of this time, and that we at Messiah are praying for those who are affected, and for an end to the pandemic.
Do you Quilt? How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!
Just a closer walk with thee, grant it Jesus is my plea;
Daily walking close to thee, let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
I am weak but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to thee. Refrain
Through this world of toil and snares, if I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me by burden shares? None but thee, dear Lord, none but thee. Refrain
When my feeble life is o’er, time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently , safely o’er to thy kingdom shore, to thy shore. Refrain