Scripture reflection and Daily Prayer: Thursday, April 16, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Morning Psalm- 47:6-9
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.
8 God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary found the tomb empty on Easter morning and then Jesus appeared to them. He told them to go tell the other disciples, the eleven, that he had risen, and then they too would see him in Galilee.
Matthew 28:16-20 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Unlike Luke and John’s gospels, things wrap up pretty quickly in Matthew following the resurrection. These few lines are the disciples’ only encounter with the risen Christ. This could mean that Matthew thinks the really important action of the story has already taken place. When you take Jesus’s birth, baptism, ministry, his death, and his resurrection, what more really needs to be said?
It’s kind of like when a movie is over, and the credits start to roll but then there are a few short scenes tying up some loose ends. You can almost imagine Matthew’s story ending with the women running in fear and great joy to tell the others they had seen Jesus…roll credits. The fact that we believe today, these 2,000 years later, what they said happened, tells us what we need to know.
But Matthew does give us a couple snapshots of what happened as the credits roll. He shows the anger and chaos among the chief priests when they learned Jesus had risen, as they devised a conspiracy to tell the world the disciples had come at night and stolen Jesus’ body, and as they paid off the guards.
Cut to, the eleven disciples racing to Galilee, clambering up a mountain to see Jesus for themselves. The action is fast. There he is. Some fall down and worship. Some can’t believe what they are seeing. And Matthew spends no time describing a gleeful, tearful reunion, with hugs and smiles. He dives right to the heart of what it all means, the whole scope of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection for we who have faith in him. The “so what?” or the “so now what?” It all comes down to this: All authority in heaven and on earth is Jesus’. He’s in charge. And here’s his command to us, his *so now*: Go, make, baptize, teach, and remember. His command is one of action, specifically to follow the actions that he himself took: Making disciples, baptizing in the name of the Trinity, teaching his commandments, and all the while remembering, remembering, remembering, that Jesus Christ, who we know, who called us to repentance, assured us of forgiveness, welcomed all, healed, and loved, died for all, rose for all, he is the one in charge, and he is always with us.
I invite you to meditate and pray today on how you and we may pattern our lives on these post resurrection commands of Jesus: Go, make, baptize, teach, and remember. For as our current days of remembering the events of Easter are happening when it’s necessary for us to remain home, we have a unique opportunity to notice and let fall away that which has been a barrier to moving forward, moving on, into the creative, inviting, and mindful work of Jesus who is risen.
Let us Pray:
Satisfy us with your love in the morning, Ps. 90:14
and we will live this day in joy and praise.
as the rising sun chases away the night, so you have scattered the power of death in the rising of Jesus Christ,
and you bring us all blessings in him.
Especially we thank you for
the ministry of Word and Sacrament . . . those who serve and care for others . . . the affection of our friends . . .
your call to love and serve one another . . . the presence and power of your Spirit . . .
“People of God, for what else do we give thanks?” Add your own prayers of thanksgiving.
with the dawn of your love you reveal your victory over all that would destroy or harm,
and you brighten the lives of all who need you.
Especially we pray for
the church in the Pacific region . . . endangered species of animals and plants . . .
those who are isolated by sickness or sorrow . . . those who suffer mental anguish . . .
all who seek the way and truth of Christ . . .
“People of God, for what else do we pray?” Add your own prayers.
Holy God, your love is higher than the heavens and your grace is wider than the sea.
Awaken our hearts to the joy of your presence and open our lips to sing your praise;
to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“God the Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit watch over us. Amen.”