“Jesus does not speed past the experience of loss and suffering. He doesn’t rush to Sunday. Rather, for those who are suffering, he provides community and family. He allows people to feel the human experience of loss and isolation, and he asks his followers to come along side one another in community.”
– reflection from CCM Bible Study
As a Bible study small group we spent several weeks reading the Easter narratives from different Gospels. As a community we moved towards the excitement of Easter Sunday! But we got there slowly. We really took time this year to reflect on the experiences of Jesus as he headed towards the cross and we asked what this meant for us.
The Last Supper: No us and them
As we read about Jesus’ last meal we reflected not only on who he ate with but how he addressed and treated those he ate with. In John 15, Jesus explains to his disciples, “ I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus came that we might have relationship with the Father. Not only did Jesus begin to call his disciples friends but he came to serve them! At the last supper we see Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. This teaches us something valuable about service. Service is not something we do for those who we see as having less or even being less than us. Jesus did not come to serve from a position of superiority. No, service is what we do for our friends, neighbours, those we see as equals. Jesus demonstrates that there is no us and them.
Good Friday: A suffering God and a new family
On Good Friday we were reminded of the great sacrifice made by Jesus. This was not just the excruciating suffering of a human person. It was the suffering of Immanuel – God with us. At the Drop-In, we reflected on what it means to have a God who knows our suffering. In Hebrews we read:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need – Heb 4:15-16 On Good Friday, we were reminded that in each of our particular struggles we have a God who can empathize. We have a God who is with us. What comfort.
We also saw that in the midst of suffering God provides for us a new family. We do not have to go through this life alone. Seeing the agony of his mother from upon the cross, Jesus says to Mary and then John, “Dear Woman, here is
your son. And here is your mother” John 19:26-27. To live this life of faith we need this new family. This new family is the kingdom work that happens each day at Capital City Mission.
Easter Sunday: Eyes to See
He is risen! Just as we have a God who knows our suffering, we have a God who is restoring all things to himself. As a community we read the narrative of the empty tomb and we noted the fact that Mary Magdalene mistook Jesus for the gardener. After all, how could it be Jesus, for he was dead. She had not yet experienced resurrection and did not at first have eyes to see. We then reflected on how our experience may cause us to put on blinders, and to miss God at work in our lives and in our world. But Easter tells us that we have a God who is always in our midst and at work bringing restoration, and new birth. God is at work in our community. Pray with us that we have eyes to see and hearts to respond.
Peace to you,