Easter Day 31.3.13 Luke 24.1-12

23 03 2013

Fear and Belief

The story of this morning, this first of mornings, points to ultimate newness. That sounds abstract, but the means by which it does so is profoundly down to earth and human.

Luke 24.1-12

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. What’s the significance of ‘the first day’?
  2. What’s the significance of the women being first to know?
  3. On the whole, is this a story of belief – or disbelief?

Heart Questions

  1. The women have en emotional journey from grief to perplexity, from terror to… well to what?
  2. How did the disciples feel when they heard from the women?
  3. Peter ended up ‘wondering’ or, as the NRSV has it, ‘amazed’.  How do you picture him as he goes home?

Hand Questions

  1. Do you seek the living among the dead?
  2. Which words of Jesus, if you remembered them, would change your life?
  3. Peter did not go along with the disbelieving majority. How does this challenge you?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.

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