Have we, too, forgotten?

Mary McKenzie - Navitiy Project

Then they remembered his words, and 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.  -Luke 24:9-11

 

The women remembered Jesus’ words and believed them.  The women remembered Jesus’ teachings about love: for enemies, for their neighbor, for the least among us; love that unites every human being with another; love that that is stronger than fear and drives out hate; love that is merciful, compassionate and forgiving.

The women remembered his words and believed them.

They remembered Jesus’ words about humility, generosity, welcoming the stranger,

justice and hope that makes one strong in the face of abusive power.  They remembered his words about power embodied in the model of servant leadership.

The women remembered his words and believed them.

But the others…the others thought their words were an idle tale.  They wished to return to the ways of the world.  It always made more sense to them.  They ways of might is right; the ways of vengeance and power over another; the ways of looking out for oneself and giving into one’s fears.

The others forgot and thought the women’s words were an idle tale.

Have we too forgotten?  Have we refused to believe?

It would seem we have.

At times, it feels that we have replaced the Gospel of Jesus with the gospel of America First.  You may like this “tough person, bully” nationalistic persona.  You may embrace this “me first” ideology but if you do… do so on your own.  Do not bring Jesus into it.

If you do you have forgotten his words…you have refused to believe.

There is no way one can experience the story we heard this Easter season and at the same time embrace the rash, bravado of these current times. For Jesus’ life embodied, love, non-violence, compassion, mercy and forgiveness; Jesus’ death was at the hands of a system that embraced capital punishment and put to death an innocent man; And God’s response was to overcome this violent death, not vengeance, not with missiles and bombs but in a non-threatening, peaceful way: Jesus’ resurrection.

This is the story the women remembered and believed.

Naïve? Perhaps.  But so is the notion that violence makes for peace.  So is the notion that violence makes us safe.  So is the notion that greatness equals power.  So is the notion that any one people’s lives are more precious to God than another’s.

May we, with the women, remember and believe.

May we go and tell those in power we refuse to forget, we refuse to stop believing.

 Then they remembered his words, and 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. (Luke 24:9-11)

The women remembered Jesus’ words and believed them.  The women remembered Jesus’ teachings about love: for enemies, for their neighbor, for the least among us; love that unites every human being with another; love that that is stronger than fear and drives out hate; love that is merciful, compassionate and forgiving.

The women remembered his words and believed them.

They remembered Jesus’ words about humility, generosity, welcoming the stranger, justice and hope that makes one strong in the face of abusive power.  They remembered his words about power embodied in the model of servant leadership.

The women remembered his words and believed them.

But the others…the others thought their words were an idle tale.  They wished to return to the ways of the world.  It always made more sense to them.  They ways of might is right; the ways of vengeance and power over another; the ways of looking out for oneself and giving into one’s fears.

The others forgot and thought the women’s words were an idle tale.

Have we too forgotten?  Have we refused to believe?

It would seem we have.

At times, it feels that we have replaced the Gospel of Jesus with the gospel of America First.  You may like this “tough person, bully” nationalistic persona.  You may embrace this “me first” ideology but if you do… do so on your own.  Do not bring Jesus into it.

If you do you have forgotten his words…you have refused to believe.

There is no way one can experience the story we heard this Easter season and at the same time embrace the rash, bravado of these current times. For Jesus’ life embodied, love, non-violence, compassion, mercy and forgiveness; Jesus’ death was at the hands of a system that embraced capital punishment and put to death an innocent man; And God’s response was to overcome this violent death, not vengeance, not with missiles and bombs but in a non-threatening, peaceful way: Jesus’ resurrection.

This is the story the women remembered and believed.

Naïve? Perhaps.  But so is the notion that violence makes for peace.  So is the notion that violence makes us safe.  So is the notion that greatness equals power.  So is the notion that any one people’s lives are more precious to God than another’s.

May we, with the women, remember and believe.

May we go and tell those in power we refuse to forget, we refuse to stop believing.

The Rev. Angela Maddalone, is Pastor of Palisades Presbyterian Church.  The image of the three women is by Mary McKenzie for The Nativity Project.

 

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