Rev. Kristen Provost-Switzer is the Minister of Youth and Mission at Newtown Congregational Church, in Newton, CT.
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 (NRSV)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 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.
Reflection: Anything But An Idle Tale
Hey, did you hear the one about the women who went to the tomb and came back with that idle tale that Jesus’ body had risen from the grave?
This is the moment we have been waiting for! We have faithfully journeyed with Jesus from Ash Wednesday, through Lent, to the cross and the places we did not wish to go and we have finally made it to the resurrection moment- only to witness these unwavering women being met with skepticism and cynicism. And then we see another miracle of sorts- Peter takes the first step of faith toward belief. Peter runs (not walks!) to the tomb and is amazed! Peter personifies the work of Easter, which is simply to believe and live into that resurrection joy. I am reminded of Mary Oliver’s “Instructions for Living A Life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
There is so much to pay attention to and be astonished about, and yet the loudest voices these days sound more like those skeptical disciples than those wonder-filled women. Whose stories are being discredited today? I’m thinking of Will Larkins, a gay teen from Winter Park, FL who bravely wrote for the New York Times to remind us all to “Say Gay Anyway.” I’m thinking of Lia Thomas and transgender kids and youth in Texas, whose resurrection truth is that they are wonderfully made creations, and that our only job is to bear witness to their transfigurations. I’m thinking of all of the folx whose stories are cast aside by the power dynamics of the majority population and how we are all hurt when we lose opportunities for collective liberation.
These sacred stories are anything but idle tales. They are the most holy stories that we will ever hear. And who are we to discredit what God has done? We are not only called to stand on the side of the oppressed, but to join them in the work and joy of upholding truth and celebrating God’s resurrection that happens over and over again.
Hey, did you hear the one about the women who went to the tomb and came back to tell the greatest story of all time? A story that we still tell 2,000 years later. A story that can only be corroborated through faith and belief.
Dear God, help us to do the holy work of sacred listening, blessed understanding and wondrous belief. Christ is risen! Alleluia! Help us to be risen, resurrection people too. Amen
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
- For the people of Shanghai, which is currently under a city-wide lockdown as authorities work to contain the city's biggest ever COVID-19 outbreak.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For this Holy Week.
- For the people of Poland, and other countries that surround Ukraine, who have been taking in tens of thousands of refugees.
This Week in History:
April 14, 1947 (75 years ago) Baseball player Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he enters a game in Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After dropping out of UCLA due to financial difficulties, despite being the first athlete to letter in four varsity sports, Robinson joined the army and was eventually commissioned as a second lieutenant. After the army, he played for the Negro American League for one season before joining the Montreal Royals minor league team. When called up to the Majors in 1947, Robinson soon became a star. He was named National League Rookie of the Year and 2 years later the National League MVP. Robinson was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, his number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball as an honor to his career. His was the first number to be retired by all teams in the league.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Rev. Kristen Provost Switzer is the Minister of Youth and Mission at Newtown Congregational Church.