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April 3 Greetings

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Mark 16:9-14

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

The above Scripture is an Easter Sunday resurrection story…but I want to reflect for a moment today on why the disciples may have struggled to receive the good news that was shared with them.

My thoughts turn to Saturday, the day after the crucifixion, and the day before the resurrection. This was not to be a “Saturday in the park” kind of day.

On that Sabbath day, when all was quiet, no one was working, and they were left to their racing thoughts, grief and worries—the disciples must have been going through a whole range of emotions:

Some may have been angry:

“Why didn’t Jesus overthrow the tyrannical Roman government? Why didn’t he restore greatness, freedom and integrity to Judaism? Why was he abused and mistreated by the local authorities? Why did the Temple leaders not protect him? Why didn’t we stand up for him?”

Some may have been sad:

“I left my job and way of life to follow him, and now it’s all over. He was the only reason I had hope for my life. He promised to always be there for us. Now I will be arrested and have no future. He showed me God’s love and now he's dead. He was only 33 years old. See, this proves that life isn’t fair.”

Some may have felt guilty:

“I can’t believe I denied that I even knew him. I can’t believe I walked away and left him alone to die. I feel horrible that in the end I didn’t follow his teachings. I should have traded my life for his. I should have fought the guards and the temple leaders. God will never forgive me for my lack of loyalty. I let down my friends and fellow disciples. I should never have quit my job and left my family behind.”

Most may have felt afraid:

“We are next! We will be arrested and tried as criminals just like him. Everybody saw us follow him around. He’s no longer here to protect us and give us courage. My family and friends are going to think I’m crazy for following him. I probably will never get a job again. Yahweh will reject us for not standing up for him. What have we done?!”

It’s no wonder that when the women came back from the tomb the disciples did not believe them. And even when those two disciples ran back from their walk to Emmaus to share that Jesus had visited with them, the disciples simply did not have the capacity to receive this good news. They were overwhelmed and overwrought on an emotional roller coaster, worried for themselves and their very lives.

It is still often true for humankind today: surrounded by bad news, negativity and difficult life experiences, it’s hard to hear any good news. Difficult to believe that God is real and that Jesus loves us. We get stuck on that horrible Saturday, frozen and locked away from living.

As we awaken tomorrow morning to Easter Sunday, may we pause to receive the Good News in the midst of our own often disturbed and vulnerable lives, and reflect on and receive the life, love and promise of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

  • Emmanuel Children…invite your friends to our Easter Egg Hunt, taking place at 2:00 p.m. (following Easter worship) tomorrow! The more, the merrier! Jean and Kay will be inviting children ages 3 – 11 to participate in the fun!

  • Look for our first ever Virtual Easter Pageant on our church YouTube channel, debuting tomorrow!

  • Jean and Kay have a Sunday school crew who will continue to offer a gathering on Sunday mornings under the tree on the church playground on April 11 and 18. More details to come!

One of my favorite hymns since childhood:

A Bible verse for today:

but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:7

Peace in Christ~


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Emmanuel Lutheran Church

7763 E. Long Look Dr.

Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

PH (928) 772-4135

FX (928) 759-3541

Office hours: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Monday - Friday

website: emmanuellutheranpv.org

email: emmanuelelca@gmail.com

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