The end. And the beginning.
May 16, 2023
The end is the beginning.
As we conclude the story of the resurrection account in Luke, having methodically and intentionally moved through it word by word, phrase by phrase, today we pause and shine a light on what we have done and what God has and is doing to us in this life-saving passage.
This “slow read” of scripture over these past 38 days has been an immersive practice of listening, seeking, praying, and opening the heart and mind to the Word’s teaching and transformative power. We have engaged in a practice of learning how to read again. Defying early childhood school fears and the embarrassment of being labeled slow readers, we have recovered or discovered that staying with a word or a phrase for a day, savoring the scripture, helps us plant its life-giving wisdom deeply within ourselves. Choosing to resist acceleration, holding the initial discomfort of the measured pace, and surrendering to it is a spiritual discipline. It is an ancient practice in the Christian Way called Lectio Divina – Divine Reading.
The end is the beginning.
As we conclude the story with Peter returning home wondering about all that had happened, we join him. We go back over the whole thing: all that had happened.
Re-read the entire story in the 12 verses of Luke 24. Savor the story. Link the words and sentences back together. Follow the arc of the account, the nuance of the narrative. As you read, be aware of how today’s reading may be different from your experience 37 days ago. How has the Spirit planted the seed of the Living Word into your heart?
But at the first signs of dawn on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb, taking with them the aromatic spices they had prepared. They discovered that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on going inside, the body of the Lord Jesus was not to be found. While they were still puzzling over this, two men suddenly stood at their elbow, dressed in dazzling light. The women were terribly frightened, and turned their eyes away and looked at the ground. But the two men spoke to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: he has risen! Remember what he said to you, while he was still in Galilee—that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and must be crucified, and must rise again on the third day.”
Then they did remember what he had said, and they turned their backs on the tomb and went and told all this to the eleven and the others who were with them.
It was Mary of Magdala, Joanna, the mother of James, and their companions who made this report to the apostles. But it struck them as sheer imagination, and they did not believe the women. Only Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He stooped down and saw the linen clothes lying there all by themselves, and he went home wondering at what had happened.
Luke 24:1-12 (JB Phillips Translation of the New Testament)
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for your life-giving Word. May I mark, learn, and inwardly digest the wisdom and gifts that it holds. Amen. Alleluia. (The Book of Common Prayer, adapted)