IT WAS STILL THE FIRST DAY
with Rev. Rachel
17 IT WAS STILL THE FIRST DAY - John 20
That evening—as in, the evening after the morning when Mary encountered her risen Lord—the disciples may have seen new sides of fellow followers. Huddling together in a spirit of fear can bring the best out of people. Ahem. It can also bring out, well, our issues. No one is perfectly enjoyable at all times.
All the more reason to celebrate a God in Jesus who shows with a large serving of what they might need more than a miracle or with what is a miracle in itself, come to think of it: Peace (v.21). They aren’t just dealing with the aftermath of a beloved teacher’s horrific murder. They are dealing with one another.
Jesus breathed on them that evening. He breathed on them and he asked them to receive the Holy Spirit (v.22).
It strikes me how John’s Jesus connects the Spirit to forgiveness (v.23). Of course he does. For this crew to move forward, they were going to need to forgive themselves, the authorities, each other, and yes, Jesus. We humans can harbor quite a bit of resentment for those who love and leave us.
I am also moved by this image of gospel schoolmates looking around and seeing that who they had was each other. Before, it may have been easy to think that group dynamics were somehow separate from the mission. In this still-the-first-day moment or in the moment described as “after eight days”, I imagine a couple of them realizing that the relationship is the task.
Boulevard is another space where whom we have is each other; which is not to say that there is no need to widen the circle of fellowship. It is simply an invitation to recognize that we are not all here accidentally. We have been given to each other. Perhaps only God knows why or maybe it is worthwhile to discern the reason(s).
It’s true: Our preacher, The Reverend Lindsey Baynham, currently serves as the Associate Director of Call, Candidacy & Discernment for the Virginia Conference of the UMC. It is also true that she runs and rescues (daily) Charles the dog and marvels over hippos (especially her adopted one) and helps people to feel loved in their idiosyncrasies and sees deeply into the complexities of her own story and the stories being lived all around her.
Something about this Eastertide makes me want to do better at treasuring the who amidst so much talk of what, where, why, and how. Company welcomed.