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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 24:36–49     

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (NRSV)

I’ve always been a fan of countdowns. When I was little, it was for my birthday or Christmas. As I grew older, it was for bigger life transitions—the first day of high school, college, and my respective graduations. I’m sure many of you have felt the same way; there’s something fun about anticipating a special day or moment. You prepare yourself emotionally if it’s going to be especially joyful or maybe challenging. Sometimes you spend every waking moment considering how to make the most of the upcoming day. Party favors selected, gifts purchased and wrapped, documents in order, college transcripts submitted.

Then the day actually arrives. And despite all your plans and preparations, things don’t go quite as you planned. And instead of remembering to enjoy the day and savor the special moment, you find yourself overwhelmed with the details and what you thought it would be like.

In Luke’s Gospel, we witness the disciples experiencing this very same process. They had things down to a science. They heard Jesus and many prophets say he would rise on the third day, yet Jesus’ resurrection still caught them by surprise. Their anticipation and expectation overshadowed the culmination of this prophecy in action. Despite Jesus’ impatience with the disciples’ amazement, he provides words of comfort, reassurance, and grace.

This reassurance is not limited to Luke’s Gospel. Christ provides us with still hearts and quiet minds. When we find ourselves anxious and anticipating that which we cannot control, Christ reminds us to put our trust and patience in him, who always provides.

God, remind us that Christ will be our patient heart and quiet mind in times of anxiety and fear. Help us to trust in your word and promise that Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection will give us countless days of joy, hope, and grace. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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