Sunday, March 23, 2008

Reading Large Chunks of Scripture
Day 15/15
Mark 16

Today's chunk is what it's all about. You can take away Christmas - the story of Christ's birth - and the whole Jesus story will still stand...but take away Easter and the experience of the Empty Tomb and it doesn't work.

We have a lot of questions: How did it happen? What did it look like? Can we trust who is telling
us this story? Is the Bible true or not? Do miracles really occur or not? Can we - I - believe in something that's supernatural, or not? Is Jesus alive today, or was a group experience of delusion, or general a feeling that he still lives in the actions of those that follow him? In the end I echo the words of NT Wright, "The question is not simply what we know but also how we can know, and at this point all our knowing is called into question."

The gospel accounts of the empty tomb vary from each other a bit. The gospel are loaded with quotations and re-interpretations of scriptures from the First Testament, but in the resurrection stories those are suddenly absent from the narratives.

I'm struck as I sit outside watching the sunrise by the cold, the sounds of the birds waking up, the sky colors changing and morphing into a deeper fullness, life itself waking up. Women tell the story of first seeing him - women, who in the ancient world were not considered as legitimate or trustworthy witnesses. He appeared to the poor, the lonely, the outcast, the oppressed, the broken - not to the president, chief priest, emperor in Rome, or local political leader. He didn't rise again to justify himself, to prove it with science, or to attack his attackers. His resurrection subverts everything: poverty, power, limited notions of community, exclusionary worldviews of what life is, and most of what we call the -isms.

I myself can't explain it either, how it happened,....but I do see how I've heard about it: the gospel stories, and the way that this event and the telling and re-telling of it has impacted me on my porch in East Oakland 2,000 years later - and the entire world for good (of course there's some bad in there too imperialism, witch hunts, inquisition, racism, sexism, exclusion)...but those first witnesses were all about something radically new - freedom, love of your neighbor, radical visions of equality and brother/sister-hood - living as the servant of all. That's what changed the world. It's the ball set in motion that transformed the Roman empire and impacted all of it. I've also experienced that power, passion and purpose in my life. Christ is risen, indeed.

The goal of this whole reading challenge was to experience the gospel, to do something new, to take on a practice.
How did it work for you?
What did you enjoy?

How did it challenge you?

How did it impact you when you consider the question, who is this Jesus of Nazareth?

Why have so many abandoned everything to follow after him?

Let me know - let the community know by sharing a comment.

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