Pastor Katy is Officially on Maternity Leave.
It's our tremendous joy to announce that we welcomed Luke Mariner Fast into our family on March 22nd, 2018! He was born at 6:09 p.m. at Mease Countryside Hospital and weighed in at 7 lbs, 1 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Pastor Katy and baby are both healthy and well.
Thank you all for the prayers of support and encouragement! Pastor Katy looks forward to this time of getting to know our new son and reacquainting herself to God's miracle that is newly given life. See you all in mid-May after maternity leave!
Decorating the sanctuary for Christmas 2017.
OK, So What Happened?
What, exactly, was the Resurrection?
We all know that the cornerstone of our faith is Easter and the proclaimed resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is the basis of our hope and faith. And yet the stories in the New Testament do nothing to assuage our confusion about the resurrection or explain what happened! If we take time to investigate the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Paul (I Corinthians) we learn that there are stories which we call “appearance stories,” where the “risen” Jesus is manifested among some, or all, of the disciples. We also come across “empty tomb” stories, where some women and men disciples go to the tomb and find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Closer examination of these stories reveals that they differ with each Gospel writer. Below is a quick paraphrased summary of some of the stories:
Mark- Almost all scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark really ends at 16:8, even though another, more desirable ending, (or endings), was added at a much much later date. Put simply, the Gospel of Mark has no appearance stories. In Mark the women discover the empty tomb; an angel instructs the women to go and tell the disciples that “He is risen and will meet them when they go to Galilee.” Then we are told that the women said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. The end!
Matthew- Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary go to the tomb and there is an earthquake sound as the stoned is rolled away. Here they see a dazzling white figure appear (angel) who tells them that “He is risen.” The angel tells them not to be afraid but to go and tell the disciples that he will see them in Galilee. They go and tell the disciples. Jesus meets them and instructs them to tell the others to go to Galilee. In the meantime Matthew tells us that the guards went and told the authorities what had happened and they were given money to simply say that the body was really stolen and hidden by his followers (to perpetuate the resurrection story). In Galilee Jesus appears to the others on the mountain and gives them the Great Commission: "Go into the entire world and teach, preach, and baptize."
Luke – Unlike Matthew, where Jesus also appears in Galilee, everything in Luke takes place in Jerusalem. The women go to the tomb to prepare the body and find it opened. Two angels appear telling them that they should not seek the living among the dead. They remind them of his words- that he would be raised after three days. So they remember and run off to tell the disciples. However, the disciples think it is just “wives tales” and dismiss it. Following this is the beautiful “Road to Emmaus” story in which two disciples invite s stranger to walk with them and recount the disappointing events that had just taken place. The stranger “opens up the scriptures” to them and later takes the roll of the host when they stop to eat. The stranger “breaks the bread” and they recognize him as Jesus. The man simply vanishes leaving the “broken bread” and their new understanding of the scriptures. They rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others only to find that Jesus appeared to Simon (Peter) as well. While this is going on Jesus appears to all of them showing them his hands and feet. He then eats a piece of fish. Finally, Jesus opens up the scriptural understanding to all of them. Jesus then sends the “promise of the Father” upon them and (40 days later) ascends to heaven. The rest of the story is recounted in Luke’s Volume Two: "The Book of Acts.”
John- On the first day of the week (this is true of all of the stories) Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb and finds the stone rolled away. She runs and tells John and Peter that they (presumably the guards) have taken the body. The two run to the tomb and enter it to find only the linen cloths there. They “believed.” Then they went back to their homes. But Mary stood there weeping. As she looked into the tomb she saw two angels inside asking her why she was weeping. When she turned around she saw a stranger she supposed was the gardener. When the stranger calls her name, “Mary” she then recognizes him to be Jesus. He bids her not to “touch him.” He tells her to go and tell the disciples that he is going to ascend to the father. She runs and tells them that she “has seen the Lord!” Later that evening the disciples are in a room with windows and doors shut. Jesus suddenly appears to them. He grants them “peace” shows his hands and side. He then tells that that as the Father sent him so he sends them. Then he tells them to “receive the Holy Spirit. The disciples tell Thomas, who was not there the first time, that they had “seen the Lord.” Thomas says that he will not believe until he sees his Jesus’ nail prints and pierced side, and touches them. Suddenly Jesus is once again among them and speaks to Thomas. But Thomas, without touching, confesses "Jesus is Lord and God.” Following this he says that those who believe and have NOT seen him will be blessed. Later, Jesus appears to some of the disciples as they are working (fishing) and he is recognized by Peter on the water. He tells them where to cast their nets to find fish (they follow his orders and catch fish in abundance. Then he is cooking breakfast (fish and bread) and invites them to eat. Jesus gives the disciples fish and bread and his identity is confirmed to them. Finally, Jesus appoints Peter as shepherd of the followers of Jesus and makes an eerie prediction about Peter’s future death (as a consequence of following Jesus).
Paul- (I Cor. 15:3-8) Paul’s account is the earliest account, perhaps some ten years or more before the earliest Gospel - Mark. Paul recounts that Jesus appeared to Cephas (Peter) and the twelve, and later to more than 500 disciples. The he appeared to James (Jesus’ brother) and all the apostles, and finally to Paul himself.
Conclusion. In a nutshell, there you have it. As you can see there are similarities and differences. But, what really happened? There could be many explanations to the different stories and experiences. Since there are seven Sundays of Easter and a three year reading cycle we are able to cover them all. Yet this still does not tell us what really happened.
So I want to take a different approach and suggest that Easter is not so much about what happened to Jesus as it is about what happened to the disciples, and what happens to us! I would rather stay in “historical experience” rather than speculate about the ethereal world of revelation and the heavens, because I have no life experience in that world. Resurrection; how it happened, is in that world. What the resurrection experience did to the disciples and the future of humanity IS historical- in our world!
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