Gene Larson is a lay person and the Chairperson of the Worship Committee at First United Methodist Church in Normal, IL. I have found him to be a very capable in engaging both theology and Bible. He graduated from Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS) and found his way to the Bloomington-Normal area where we worked for State Farm. My first meeting of Gene was with his dogs. He is a dog lover and is as dedicated to his canines as they are to him!
I welcome Gene back to my blog and invite you to read another perspective on Resurrection and New Life.
The Gospel of Mark contains my favorite Easter story. Why, you may wonder? Simply put it contains two words that I relate to. Before I tell what they are, it is helpful to understand just what Mark’s gospel is. Most Bible scholars believe that it is, if not the actual dictation of the apostle Peter, it is very closely based on his testimony. It is brief, it gets right to the point. It is not flowery or verbose. Simply, it reads like something written very quickly, with a deadline; just the facts; just the salient points.
I have always liked Peter. We’re a lot alike. We’re both impetuous, often acting without enough thought. We’re often in trouble with those we’d rather please than offend. But, Peter’s heart, hopefully mine also, is in the right place most of the time.
On the first Easter morning, I’d bet that Peter was more beside himself with more than grief, he blaming himself for failing Jesus in His hour of need. He’d tried to do something in the garden, but Jesus had stopped him. Now he shudders to think of what he did in the courtyard outside the house where Jesus’ captors had taken him. It was a tough time for him and I’m convinced that he was planning how to best leave the disciples and slink away. Jesus was gone and there was no way to make meaningful amends to Him.
Then, those two words lifted Peter out of the hell he had created for himself. The angel outside the tomb said to Mary, “…go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
The words, “…and Peter” said so much to him that he knew he was still part of the grand plan. He was forgiven the impetuousness, the failures, and the cowardice which he had convicted himself of. Well, I suffer from those same faults as Peter and many more to boot. If Jesus can invite Peter to Galilee, I have faith that he can invite me too. There is still much to learn and Jesus wasn’t easy on Peter on the lakeshore. I don’t expect him to be easy on me either. Jesus asked Peter three times (once for each denial?) if he loved him. And, his threefold instruction to Peter after each question was the same—take care of the flock.
We are the hands, feet, voices, and hearts of God on earth right now. Jesus empowers us by his resurrection to be followers of his teachings and doers of his Father’s will. Jesus said to Mary, “…and Peter.” The power of the resurrection is released to each of us when we realize Jesus says, “…and [our name] to each and every one of us.