Steve Peterson, Moorhead, MN

Warm-up Question

Have you ever been so fired up about something you were doing that you lost all track of time.  You lost any sense of being self-conscious about how you were being seen by others, just getting lost in doing something you believed in, found joy in doing?  Can you describe what you were doing and what that experience was like for you?

Living Your Passion

Who do we think of as influential people, people who make a difference in the world, communities, or among family and friends? What qualities do we think of when we think of influential people?  TIME  magazine in early March of this year published a double issue featuring brief articles about those chosen as the 100 next most influential people.  Many of the articles were written by previous Time 100 alumni. 

For example, Greta Thunberg, TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year, writes about Vanessa Nakate, a 24-year-old climate justice champion from Uganda.  Her African country is one the regions of the world most exposed  to the adverse effects of the climate crisis. Nakate is making a difference through her Rise Up movement.  She started the Green Schools Project to transition schools in Uganda to solar energy and champions education and empowerment for girls and youth women. She is a powerful example of what one young woman with passion for something she believes in can do.

The rest of the TIME’s 100 Next list includes, “doctors and scientists fighting COVID-19, advocates pushing for equality and justice, journalists standing up for truth, and artists sharing their visions of present and future.”   Altogether, TIME describes these Next 100 Influential people as being characterized by, in the words of composer, lyricist and actor Manuel Mirander, “clear-eyed hope.”

Discussion Questions

  • What do you think motivates people who have a great positive influence on the world, their communities, and their friends and families?
  • What do you think either blocks or encourages people from “reaching for the stars” in terms of following their beliefs and passions and using their gifts in influencing positive change in the world?

Resurrection of Our Lord

Acts 10:34-43

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Mark 16:1-8

John 20:1-18

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

Of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) Mark’s resurrection story might seem the least fun and satisfying.   Beyond a few common details, it feels like there is more going on in the other gospel’s.  More conversation, more angel intrigue, more dramatic action.  We get the sense in the other gospels that we can linger a bit in satisfaction and delight.  We feel a little more like celebrating after reading the other gospel accounts of the resurrection.  

In Mark, it’s just the facts:  He’s not dead anymore, he has been raised, tell the disciples, you can see him  back home in Galilee, he’s not here. That seems to be the point in Mark; he is risen, get going and meet him in Galilee!  So, they flee in terror and amazement, afraid to tell anyone.  Full stop.  What is this all going to mean for them?

They knew what he was like before rising from the dead… stirring up all kinds of good trouble, holy trouble.  Healing the sick, feeding the hungry, breaking down barriers between people which some powerful people don’t want broken down.  He brought hope to the broken-hearted and release to all kinds of people, including some people not everyone wanted freed.  He brought the Kingdom of God that he talked about.  If that was what Jesus was like before, they must have wondered, what kind of good trouble will he get into now that he had risen from the dead?  And they are supposed to meet him back in the neighborhood! Maybe that’s part of their terror and amazement, wondering what more might happen!

Maybe this gospel’s resurrection story is pretty exciting after all!  Like the disciples, we are told to meet Jesus in our neighborhoods!  Jesus has risen! He is meeting us in our neighborhoods, calling us to live his resurrection life with him. We are not alone.  He is meeting us there; giving us the passion and gifts to make a difference in the world—feeding the hungry, healing the sick, telling the truth, tearing down walls between people by proclaiming and living Jesus’ love for all people, and giving “clear-eyed hope.” Jesus is risen, and he is calling us to live his resurrection hope and be an influence for his hope in our world today.

Discussion Questions

  • How might Jesus be present now in your neighborhood, school, community, and church?
  • Where might you meet Jesus in your neighborhood?  What are some examples of what that might look like, how that might happen?  
  • How might Jesus use your gifts, talents, and passions  to be his presence in your neighborhood and in the world today?

Activity Suggestions

Ask an adult where they see Jesus in your neighborhood and what they think Jesus is doing or would like to do in the neighborhood.  Take a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood.  Where do you see Jesus?  Where do you imagine Jesus’ resurrected presence might  offer someone “clear-eyed hope” and love?  Imagine other neighborhoods you have seen or heard of, anywhere in the world…imagine Jesus in those places…

Closing Prayer

Risen Jesus, thank you for showing us your power over death and all that brings death, sadness, hurt and suffering in the world.  Make us instruments of your resurrection love and power in the world.  Help us to live your resurrection hope in our neighborhoods. Amen