Practicing Resurrection: “Amazed” (Luke 24:1-12)

A series of reflections on Jesus’ resurrection appearances, contributed by past and present Pepperdiners. This one’s on me.

A moment that changes everything, from P.T. Anderson's Magnolia

Luke 24:1-10 Peter at the empty tomb

…returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest…. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But 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.

An idle tale to those who do not believe; but, to Peter, it is all adrenaline.

God is, or is not, we say. The not-God reads like a tall tale or a good fable. The not-God presents an appealing imagined alternative or a calming tune, or a raucous moment of “Ah!” But, even when the not-God gives rise to inspiration, it passes and there is nothing on the canvas.

God-is acts upon me. God-is resonates with the truth that has brought me freedom so far, and I am compelled to pursue it further. God-is calls out, God-is gathers together, and God-is makes new, makes good, makes beautiful – God-is here means new creation.

When we are gathered each week to hear the story, what do we hear?

When I respond to this story with idleness, I must ask, what do I believe? Because if the telling of this story does not cause me to stir in my seat, perhaps I do not have reason to believe it might be true.

But, like Peter, when we gather each week to hear the story, we might be reminded of something we’ve heard before; something that hinted at “YES” in the midst of all the “no”s of this week. It might cause me to suddenly want to return to the place of that no – the one I can’t shake, the one between me and anything next – just to see if maybe the truth is something else. When I hear the story, and have the faith to return to the place I thought was the end – to run to that place with eager eyes – perhaps I will be surprised.

When we hear the not-God story, even if we like the sound, there is nothing to go see. When the God-is story is announced, we get up and run, because these words light the path to something I want to see, to do, to know, right now!

When Peter gets there, he doesn’t arrive at faith’s destination, but he enters the amazement that invites faith. And faith, Peter has learned, doesn’t know what Jesus is going to do, but confirms that God-is can be trusted. Whatever is next, it is what comes after resurrection.

Get up and run to see it.

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