resurrection: a new life of love
Resurrection is not merely existence after death. The resurrection of Jesus inaugurated among the people of God a new life of love. The living presence of Jesus among and within his followers is best seen in attitudes and acts of love. This Easter Season our Scriptural engagement will be in 1 John. John was known as the apostle Jesus loved. Receiving such love, John became known as the apostle of love. John’s first letter lets us in on his experience of the love of God, how it transformed his life, and how John came to see love as the best and truest mark of following the resurrected Jesus. – Todd Hunter
Reading: Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24 and Luke 15:11-24
- In our Genesis passage we hear God searching for Adam, who hid himself from God, with a question: “Where are you?” The intent of probing questions like the one God asks Adam is to draw the heart, the person out. Take a moment and ask yourself the same question: Where am I…today? Spend moments discerning the state of your body, soul, spirit (tired, challenged, joyful, energetic). Let the Spirit of God draw you out. Expose the naked truth of yourself to the One who sees you right where you are and loves you…as you are.
- There is a spiritual difference between hiding from God (Gen.3:8) and hidden in God (Col.3:3). Consider the two different states of existence as you reflective read Genesis 3:1-13, 22-24. In your mind, what’s the difference? Have you ever felt the tension between these two states? How have you experienced hiding? Are their areas of your life or in your heart presently that might be characterized as hiding from God? What might be preventing you from coming out into the open, being exposed as you are, with what you’ve done?
- Continue your reflective readings in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24. What do you hear as you listen to the narrative? What invitations do you sense God presenting to you? What comfort do you derive from Jesus’ description of the father? Take moments with God now. Wherever you find yourself…take whatever time you need to make the journey homeward. Come home.
Conclude your reflections with this prayer:
To you, my Father, I give my elemental being and all inner shadows that rise in opposition to love.
Use this day as my teacher. Reveal where there is interior resistance to your truth and transformation, and bring the joyful release of feeling forgiven in each moment when I remember who I am and what you desire for me to become. Amen
Prayer adapted from Peter Traben Haas, Centering Prayers.
Reading: Genesis 2:7-9, 15-18, 20b-25 and John 15:1-11
- Roam the fertile ground of the Garden of Eden as you read and reflect on the creation narrative about humanity’s origin. What do you notice; what do you sense; what do you understand from God’s good intention for humanity?
- God presented one limitation in the garden (out of all that was given to Adam to eat and enjoy, there was 1 prohibition put on 1 tree in the garden). Limitations are often seen as a “bad.” We want what we want when and how we want it. But in this narrative, the limitation of God was for humanity’s “good” in his created order of life. How have you experienced or understood limitations as a “good” in your life? When confronted with a limitation in life, how do you respond to it? How might a limitation become a friend in the spiritual formation of your soul? Maybe you are currently struggling with some limitation and can’t seem to see it as a good. What if you were to see it as a way to accept your finitude, and an invitation to trust (rely on, depend on) God for the care of you body, soul, and entire life? How would this change the way you live with limitations?
- Read Jesus’ words to us in John 15:1-11. How does the picture of a garden as a metaphor for relationship and life expand your understanding of God’s intentions for you? What do you hear Jesus inviting you to experience? How might you respond to his invitations today? Talk to God about the things in your life, in your body, in your spirit that seem challenging to accept or embrace. Give thanks for specific ways you’ve experience fertile ground under the Gardener’s loving care.