You and I have fished in those same waters, haven’t we? When we put everything into a marriage to make it wonderful, but in the end, our net came back empty. When we invested blood, sweat, and time into a job, but the company downsized and our net came back empty. Our moment of “fishing” happens when we are trying our best to make a living, raise a family, and do good. But just like the disciples, our nets come back empty.
And the soldiers—the protectors of civil order— decide to bury the truth. They take their bribe and the promise of protection from Pilate’s wrath, and they toe the party line. They protect the power of a broken world.But the women—the ones with little influence, the ones who are least likely to be believed—they run from the empty tomb with great joy. It is only as they are obedient to the angel’s command that Jesus himself appears to them.
And in our gospel passage, Mary of course – like all of us on this side of death – is not yet fully awake. She makes first contact with the resurrected Jesus, and it’s about as awkward as Peter embarrassing himself by trying to pitch a tent on Mount Tabor. Mary’s problem is that she thinks Jesus is dead, and when she sees that he’s gone, she consoles herself by saying, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
Mary Fletcher was the first woman John Wesley permitted to preach in the 1770s. Her journals, diaries, and letters embody the largest collection of Methodist papers in existence with the sole exception of John Wesley’s papers. There are times I’ve wondered if a Lenten fast is nullified by Easter feasting. But in reading Mary Fletcher’s journals, noting the ebb and flow with which she made entries, I understood her seasons of profuse writing were not negated by the seasons of terseness.
The texts for this sermon come from Psalm 23 and John 10:11-18. In the middle of the Easter season every year is what some…
Remember how much we see Jesus eating with people all the time in the Gospels? The simple and uneventful act of eating with people was central to his mission, and it’s not that difficult. That’s what the early church did. They met with one another in their homes, breaking bread, and telling others about Jesus. Likewise, when we invite others to share a meal, this is extremely meaningful cross-culturally. When we eat together, we discover the inherent humanity of all people. We share stories, hopes, fears, and disappointments. People open up to each other. And we can open up to them to share the same things, including telling them about the truly human one…
Like a tide that ebbs and flows upon a shore, the disciplines are like waves, ever-present with the rising and falling of the water. Discipleship is a life-long endeavor, regularly punctuated by the fasts and feasts we keep, consistently renewing and transforming us so we might be worthy vessels to offer the life giving water of Christ to a parched and weary world.
The same Lord who met the disciples on the road to Emmaus longs to meet us during this season of Eastertide. As we seek him, he opens his Word to us, meets us in the breaking of the Bread, and stirs our hearts with his holy love in a way that makes it impossible to contain the news of his resurrection.