Editor’s note: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is offering Habits of Grace, a weekly meditation to help Episcopalians cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing physical distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new video meditation will be posted on Mondays through May.” — Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
April 28, 2020: Meeting Jesus
There’s an interesting pattern in some of the stories of the resurrection. In Luke 24, for example, some of the followers of Jesus are traveling from Jerusalem itself to the small village of Emmaus a few miles down the road. A stranger comes up to them, walks with them and carries on a conversation with them and all along, the stranger was Jesus raised from the dead. They didn’t recognize him. They didn’t see that it was Jesus until, as the Bible says, their eyes were open as if they turned and actually saw him in the breaking of the bread and saw him alive.
A similar thing happened to Mary Magdalene in the 20th chapter of John’s Gospel, where she is frantically running around looking for his body, and she comes up to someone she mistakes for the gardener in the cemetery. It’s actually Jesus raised from the dead. But again, she doesn’t recognize him until he speaks, “Mary,” the way he always said it and he says though she stopped, and you know how we say did a double take, turned and saw that it was Jesus and cried out, “Rabboni!” That pattern may well be reminding us who hear those stories generations after it all happened that the risen Christ, that the Lord Jesus, that our God, is actually walking with us even when we cannot see, feel or sense his presence. Sometimes we just have to stop, be still, and turn and behold.
Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. . . Though the mountains be toppled into the midst of the sea, God is our stronghold.”
Be still and know that I am God.
In a prayer in our prayer book, says much the same thing:
Oh God of peace who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength. By the might of thy spirit, lift us we pray thee to thy presence where we may be still and know that thou art God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus said at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, at the end of the messages about the resurrection, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”
God love you, God bless you and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.