“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (38/40):
First things first. I loved Katherine Kerr’s Lenten Devotional today …
“I have seen the Lord.” With these words, Mary Magdalene became the first Apostle, the first person to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. In John’s account, she was one of the last to see him alive, standing with his mother and other relatives and disciples near the foot of the cross as he was crucified. Mary was the first to walk the difficult three-day journey from crucifixion to resurrection, and became a model for the rest of us.
Full Definition of APOSTLE
1: one sent on a mission: as
a : one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ’s 12 original disciples and Paul
b : the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group
2a : a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system
b : an ardent supporter : adherent
3: the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations
4: one of a Mormon administrative council of 12 men
— apos·tle·ship noun
So was Mary Magdalene the first apostle?
It is really cold today.
I’m hoping for a reverse of the weather scenario we had earlier this week: Tuesday, heavy rain followed by several more days of winter and then today, heavy rain followed by spring, finally, a rebirth of spring this year. Appropriate for Easter, don’t you think?
… he said, “It is finished!” (NLT)
Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (NIV) These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ’s earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.
The chimes sounded especially mournful today. And the birds, they were really, really loud! It was almost as if the chimes and the birds knew that this was a mournful time.
I have fallen in love with the red maples the edge of the labyrinth. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed them before this year. It’s funny how things are the same, but different, depending on where you focus your attention.
What is a concrete thing?
The walk …
About midway through my walk I noticed a bride and her entourage getting ready for a wedding. I certainly thought it a strange time for a wedding, late afternoon on Good Friday. But I wish her well and blessings. And I have to assume that Presbyterians don’t have a rule against getting married during Lent, or even on Good Friday late afternoon.
After noticing the bride, I found myself talking to the chimes and birds and telling them to sing more joyfully, for her sake.
And I loved the closing to James Howell’s email reflection:
Be still, and quiet, as much as you can this day. Ponder the suffering, and love embodied in the Cross.
Blessings to all and blessings to the beautiful bride on this Good Friday.
Some thoughts on Good Friday …
4) Jesus Cries Out to the Father
Matthew 27:46 (also Mark 15:34)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NKJV)
In the darkest hours of his suffering, Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. And although much has been suggested regarding the meaning of this phrase, it was quite apparent the agony Christ felt as he expressed separation from God. Here we see the Father turning way from the Son as Jesus bore the full weight of our sin.
In other words, the crucifixion lays bare the reality about the human experience and human suffering: that all societies are founded on violence and that, most of the time anyway, we turn our violence on the innocent.
If the crucifixion story tells us an unbelievable story about God, it tells us a very, very believable story about man: that we are violent and cruel.
The crucifixion shows us the humility of God, and also teaches us some humility. It shows us that, precisely because he became lower than us, God is better than us.