APRIL 2018: A GATHERING OF WOMEN
By Tanya Lopez, Regional Disciples Women Ministry Staff
Called to be People of Resurrection!
I pray you all have had a blessed and joy filled Easter! This time of the year is special for many of us and it brings with it renewed energy, renewed hope and most of all a spirit of celebration! As Christians, we celebrate life and resurrection and the call to share and witness the good news to all! But just what is that good news? With so much going on around us, so much pain and tension, how can we share the gift of resurrection to our neighbors?
I am fascinated by the resurrection story and how each gospel shares a different perspective to such a monumental event. Matthew, Mark and Luke all have a group of women going to the tomb and then after having an encounter with an angelic figure, they are instructed to go and tell the others that Jesus has risen. I am always struck and filled with joy when reading that it was the women who were the first to learn of the resurrection. They were afraid and filled with joy when learning that the tomb was empty!
Fear and joy are two things that do not seem to fit together, but the women in Matthew 28 are filled with fear and joy. They run and share the good news but are fully present to what their very human responses were. They do not hide or pretend to be cool, calm and collected. They are struck with fear but the joy compels them to share what they saw, heard and what it meant! These women give us an example of how resurrection is our call. We are to share, do, go, give, serve, learn, challenge, speak out, and live out Jesus’ teachings!
At times, we will not know how to best serve, or how to best proceed. There will be difficult times where perhaps we fear rejection or criticism. There will be times where we will need to make difficult decisions and we will be genuinely afraid of the unknown. Uncertainty is in fact one of the biggest causes of fear in our lives as believers. The fear of not knowing if a new idea will work, if people will come, if a decision is the right one, if there might be another option, if there may be no other option than the difficult one before us. The women at the tomb were afraid because they did not know what the empty tomb meant.
But there was not just fear, there was also hope and joy.The women were gave themselves the freedom to feel afraid and then they received joy! The fear they experienced was real and it was necessary to process what it was they were encountering. The joy came when they were reassured of Jesus having risen just as he had said he would! We are called to be a resurrection people! People who fear but are filled with joy! People who fear for the future of our churches, people who fear for the safety of our children, people who fear for the health of our communities, people who fear for the future of our world amid so much violence.
We are called to fear, but to also be filled with the joy that comes from the hope we receive in the resurrection story. Death was not the end of Jesus’ story. The pain, the suffering, the brokenness that so many of our brothers and sisters are living is not the end of the story. We are all partnered with God to be the hope, the love, and the healing hands to our neighbors. Together we can share the good news, we can feed the hungry, we can liberate the oppressed and
shelter those on the streets! Together we can share the hope and joy of resurrection not just on Easter when we invite our neighbors to our churches, but every day! We need to be a people of resurrection! A people that know that death is not the end of the story, and so these difficult times are not the end of our story!
I pray we heed the call to resurrection and that we find new ways to share the hope and joy with others. May we lead lives that fear for our future, but that also rest and push forward knowing that together we can build more peaceful tomorrow!
With love and gratitude,
Disciples Women Ministry Staff
2401 N. Lake Ave, Altadena, California 91001