I belong to a pretty incredible community of people who gather on Tuesday evenings at one of our local bars for a Bible discussion based on the Revised Common Lectionary. It is led by one of my best friends who is the associate minister at Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola. We read scripture. We pray. We ask honest questions. Some people drink. Some people listen. There are disagreements. Most of the time everyone honors all the different opinions. I've participated off and on since it started 3 years ago and now that I'm moving I pray I find something similar to belong to!
Our discussion from last night is still on my mind. We discussed John 20:1-18...Where Mary finds Peter and the disciple that Jesus loved and let them know that someone moved the body of Jesus.
We all were struck by the loss that the disciples must have felt in the time before they realized Jesus was gone. They spent the past three years of their lives following and learning from him and then he was killed. Like a common criminal. Where did they go wrong?
Peter knew he had already denied Jesus in public three times too. I can only imagine how horrible he felt about that.
The disciples and many of his followers really expected Jesus to take charge and change the circumstances that the Jewish people were living under. He was the Messiah and he would get rid of the Romans! And they were going to be on the winning team with him!!! But he was crucified on a cross. Where are they going to go now? How can someone save face with all the people they know after such a huge loss?
And then. The stone is moved. Jesus' body is gone.
Could he have been moved? Did he really rise from the dead? Again, it's hard to comprehend the feelings and hope and fear that they had to have been feeling.
I would have loved to be a part of that community as they realize that Jesus is alive. The story that they expected to play out didn't but it became something so different. They were - and we are - invited to be a part of the story. Jesus is about dominating. Jesus isn't about instantly changing the circumstances that we live under. But he is about changing the story that we are in and he invites us to help him. Jesus did win. But not the way that we expect. Jesus coming back to life is a game changer.
So my question at the end of the discussion is - why do we keep trying to win? It's not even a game that we are a part of! Why do I keep trying to win? Why do I feel like I need to succeed according to the standards that other people have set. Why do I put such an emphasis on what others think or believe instead of my own thoughts and beliefs?
I'm not sure I even know how to stop playing the game...
What I do know this morning during Holy Week 2013 - is that even if I get lost and keep trying to play the game- Jesus has changed it. And because my life is lived in His, I get to be a part of what he is doing. Even if I don't know that I am. Especially if I don't know that I am. And that may be exactly how it is supposed to be...