April 1: Listening Ourselves into New Life


Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

Listening Ourselves into New Life
Mark 16:1-8

Listening and taking in what we hear can be tricky. Selective memory happens when something prevents us from processing certain information or an event, keeping us from cataloging the memory for later recall. It can happen many ways.  Perhaps something someone says feels so impossible that understanding it is completely out of the realm of our imagination. Perhaps it is so painful that we cannot process what we have heard or seen, as the brain seeks to protect itself from trauma.

It seems those who arrived at the tomb to take care of the deceased body suffered from selective memory. Jesus’ prior instructions were that he would be killed, but would rise on the third day and meet them at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. How could they not remember that? It took an angel to remind them to go to Galilee “just as he told you.”

It makes me wonder what else was so unbelievable to them that it only sunk in later. It makes me wonder what I have yet to take in and own, deeply in my very being. What have I heard in the listening that still has yet to truly register? On this Easter Sunday, what promises do we need to remember and believe about the possibility of new life? What must we repeat until we truly get it?

“You are created in the image of the Divine.”
“You are a beloved child of God.”
“You are loved without condition.”
“You have a place at the table.”
“I am with you always.”
“New life is possible.”
“Death is not the last word.”

Grief can cloud the vision of resurrection. New life might not make any sense while we are immersed in the depths of despair. Sometimes we need to be reminded. So as we complete a season of devotions encouraging us to listen, I invite you to say those affirmations to yourself. And if it feels hard to hear the first time, say it again and again. And then do “just as he told you” and take these messages to others. Especially those who are still standing in the tomb, wondering where love has gone.

Dr. Marcia McFee
SFTS Ford Fellow and Visiting Professor of Worship
Creator and Visionary, Worship Design Studio