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
Readings: Psalm 112:1-9 and Matthew 5:13-20
The heart of the Sermon on the Mount is the heart. Jesus’ teaching to his disciples revolves around Matt.5:17-20 and governs what came before and his remaining (through Matt.7:28). Jesus stands juxtaposed to the religious leaders of his day and expresses the real intent of the Law that was given to God’s people on Mt. Sinai (see Matt.22:38-40). Jesus’ criticism was toward a purely moralistic or behavioral oriented religious system without a change of heart. Jesus himself embodies the entire message of the Law and the Prophets: a self-giving love for God and others. His followers are invited into a different kind and quality of life that derives its reality and way of being in the world from a Person and relationship rather than a handbook for behavioral management or modification.
- As you sit with Matt.5:13-20 listen to Jesus’ vivid description of his disciples: You are salt…light…a lamp…a city on a hill. What one image captures your heart and imagination? Why? Is this how you see yourself in the world? If so, how does the way you see yourself in the world enhance your perspective and experience of life in the world? In what ways are you salt, light…etc…in your family, at work, in your church community, with strangers? If not, how do you see yourself, your life in God? How might these descriptive images expand or change your perspective of your identity in God and way of being in the world?
- As you think about your life and way of being in the world, take time to discern any inner struggles, circumstantial difficulties, or real people in your life that might be diminishing your experience of God’s kingdom and goodness, and your influence or way of being in the world? Have a conversation with God about these things.
- While reflecting on Jesus’ teachings, what invitations do you sense from God? How might you respond to God in concrete ways today? What changes might you make to live more fully into God’s kingdom life?
- Read through Jesus’ descriptives of his followers again. What assurances or encouragements do you receive to your heart and life, right where you are, just as you?
– Elizabeth Khorey
Readings: Psalm 15 and Matthew 5:1-12
- Some of what we hear in the Beatitudes (Mt.5:1-12) is a description of the kinds people who God invites into relationship with him in his kingdom. No one is exempt from his blessing. Can you identify with any of these human conditions of body, soul and social self? If so, how have you or do you experience God’s blessing in poverty of spirit, grief over losses in life, trouble and trouble making situations, challenges of faith, rejection from others?
- What ways do you need God’s intervention, comfort or support in your life today? Spend some time in prayer asking God’s Spirit to shelter with love, sustain in weakness or bolster faith in your present condition.
- As you talk with God about what’s going on in your life, how might you see your present condition as an open door for God to come, work, transform or bless you with his goodness?