Southpoint News – Week of April 24th, 2019
I Have Seen the Lord
Mary’s heart was traumatized, which shaped how she saw the visual clues of Easter Morning. Her mind latched onto the story that Jesus was dead and his body stolen and it wouldn’t budge. She literally Could Not see Jesus, even when he was standing right in front of her eyes.
Like Mary, some of us have been traumatized by the violence done in the name of religion. Like Mary, some of us have been traumatized by watching someone we love suffer or die. Some of us have been traumatized by the suffering in our own life which we find hard to integrate with our faith.
What traumas have you witnessed or experienced?
How might they shape the stories you believe and tell about Jesus?
Like Mary, our own internal stories of Jesus have grown muddled and unclear. Stories from other christians that undermine our personal convictions, or stories that deny the validity of Christianity, deepen our confusion. We tell each other our muddled stories of Jesus. We struggle to interpret the signs of resurrection.
But there is such good news in the passage: When Mary was incapable of seeing, Jesus saw her. When Jesus was unknown and unrecognized by Mary, Jesus knew her. While Mary looked upon him as the local gardener, Jesus looked on her with tenderness and love.
In the midst of our unknowing, we are known by Jesus.
In the midst of our confusion over what we are seeing, we are seen by Jesus.
In the midst of the false stories we spread about Jesus in our confusion and blindness, Jesus is standing beside us, lovingly whispering our name.
Then Jesus said to her, “Mary! When he called her by name, something happened inside of her. She sensed the trueness of his presence, and feeling her heart respond in recognition, ” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”
I think it is worth noticing that Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus primarily with her eyes. And she doesn’t even recognize him through her analysis of the data. She recognizes him by the movements of her heart.
When have you experienced those strange whispers,
encountering you in the interiority of your heart?
Even when you don’t hear them, your heart does…Your heart responds to the whispers of the Risen Christ…sometimes with restlessness and longing, sometimes with peace, sometimes with courage and conviction, sometimes with a compulsion to act.
Can you feel something stirring within you that is restless? A holy discontent?
Can you feel a deepening desire for mercy, for compassion? Perhaps these are first whispers of the Risen Christ within you.
When Mary recognizes Jesus. She did EXACTLY what she did before: she ran back to tell the disciples her story: “I have seen the Lord”; she announces to them. It’s the very first sermon of the church, and its proclaimed by a woman:) Will these men gathered together in a room believe her? Maybe. Probably not. They will probably have to have their own heart encounter with the Risen Christ for their story to change.
I imagine some of them were dismissive and skeptical. Others of them were curious and hopeful. Maybe a few connected the dots back to the stories that Jesus himself told, stories about how he’d have to die and be raised to life, and as they remembered, began to have something like faith grow in their heart.
When others tell stories of having a heart encounter with Jesus, how do you respond? Are you curious? Dismissive? Cynical? Certain? Grateful? doubtful? Are you inclined to honor the story, or does the language about Jesus make you uncomfortable?
I wonder if we have become so skeptical about “Jesus is my boyfriend” language that we have lost something essential to the gospels? That when Jesus comes near, he comes near to our hearts. He comes near and calls us beloved. Let’s us know we belong. Helps us recognize again our own dignity and worth. Gives us a purpose. If that’s not worth a love song now and then, I don’t know what is.
Pope Francis, in his book The Joy of the Gospel encourages us to open up to a renewed heart encounter with the living presence of Jesus. “I invite all Christians everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ: I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day .The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”
It doesn’t matter that we’ve “been away a long time, or have been distant and preoccupied, or skeptical, selfish, or are guilty of actions we regret”. Are we open to the possibility of a deepening encounter? If so, we begin where we are. We tell the truth about how we feel. We recognize our friendship has gone cold, its become cognitive and stale, an old story, rather than a present lived reality. We offer the stale crumbs of our faith, or we offer up our nonexistent faith. Or we offer up our traumatized, wounded heart grid-locked by fear. And then we ask for what we desire: “Jesus, let me begin a renewed personal encounter with you. Give me the grace to desire you, and to know you more.”
Opportunities for Deepening Connections:
Next ALL OUT – Good Seed Sunday
On April 28 we will meet at ARocha for our annual onion planting extravaganza!
1620 192 St, Surrey
Bring snacks to share!
Southpoint Intergenerational Spring Activity: Bike Ride
Sunday, May 5 @ 2:00 – bike around Barnston island in North Surrey. Meet at the ferry at 2:00 and enjoy a flat quiet 10 kilometre kid friendly ride around the island. Bring along some snacks/goodies to share at Robert Point rest area. If it’s raining we’ll cancel and try for another day. Contact Art Stuivenberg with any questions.
We are doing a play on Sunday May 26 called “The Miraculous Catch” written by Jason Goode. We are looking for 7 actors (age 13 and up) to work on this during the month of May. Please talk to Angela if you are at all interested firstname.lastname@example.org
An open small group for youth/young adults.
Monday @ 8:30 pm, Anne and Craig’s house.
We dig deep into connecting with God and each other as we play games, discuss books, pray, share. Interested? Contact Anne (email@example.com)
Calendar: Easter Season
April 28th: What Does Resurrection Look Like? Part 1: “Re-Creation” Good Seed Sunday. ALL OUT with A Rocha @ Brooksdale Environmental Center. 9:30-11:30.
May 5th: What Does Resurrection Look Like?, Part 2, “Vocation” Scriptures: John 21:1-19 and Acts 9:1-6, (7-20), Speaker: Anne
May 12th: “What Does Resurrection Look Like?”, Part 3, “Life” Scriptures: Acts 9:36-43, John 10:22-30, Speaker: Anne
May 19th: “What Does Resurrection Look Like?”, Part 4, “Connection” Scriptures: Acts 11:1-18, John 13:31-35, Speaker: Anne
May 26th: ALL IN + Pot Luck
June 2nd: “What Does Resurrection Look Like?” Part 5 “Communion” Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 John 17:20-26, Speaker: Anne
June 9th: PENTECOST SUNDAY
Have an Announcement?
If you have an addition you would like included in this newsletter, please send a prepared announcement as you would like it to appear to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday and we will get back to you.
If you have a need for prayer that you would like to pass on to the prayer chain, please contact John Hardy.