It is not hard to imagine how the disciples felt the morning after Jesus’ death: afraid, stunned, confused, immeasurably sad. Maybe angry, too.
Afraid because Jesus had been crucified by Rome, and Rome always dealt harshly with rebellions. Would the disciples and their families be sought out next? Stunned because the overwhelming acclaim Jesus received at the beginning of the week did him no apparent good by the end of the week. Confused because Jesus had no backup plan in case the Jewish leaders came to arrest him. Immeasurably sad because the best person anyone had ever known died a humiliating death before their eyes. Angry? Political intrigue and power-mongering among the Jewish leaders led to the death of an innocent man. Besides, being angry is easier than being sad.
That is how I imagine they felt, but what did they do?
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23:55–56)
What they did was observe the Sabbath from Friday sunset until Saturday sunset. They observed it by praying together, eating a Sabbath meal (if they could eat at all), and refraining from work.
Their habits of faith shaped their lives even in their worst moments. We need a faith like theirs based not only on emotion, not only on good or right ideas, but based on habits that reinforce our intention to honor God. Habits that can keep us on the right track (or nearly so) even when chaos and sorrow overwhelm us.
What habits would you like to have in place to sustain you? Study, prayer, fellowship, worship, making music, walking while talking with God are some examples.
What’s your next step toward one of those habits?
And hang on until tomorrow. He said he would rise on the third day….
Today is the third Sunday in Lent, a time to gather and celebrate the security we experience in the care of God our shepherd.
An important part of following Jesus is that he gives us to each other as companions along the way. Sheep follow the shepherd not "single file" nor somehow all alone, but as sheep in a flock.
Come along! We’ll make room. And our Shepherd is always worth following.
Today begins Lent, our preparation for the joy of Jesus’ resurrection! We prepare by confessing our sin and contemplating our mortality. To do so is to begin to allow Jesus to make us whole and fully alive.
You may find our Ash Wednesday service tonight at 7:00 pm a strong start to our season together.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1–2)
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • firstname.lastname@example.org