Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…

“Woo hoo! We won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes!” Again.

Seems like every couple of months I get that tantalizing little email notifying me I have only to hit the magic “click” button, and a zillion dollars a month, guaranteed, is ours.

Our local florist has been notified to prepare the appropriate bouquet, and the guy with the balloons is standing by. Brenda does not seem to mirror my same level of excitement when I tell her this is it! This time we’ve won, I’m sure! “Uh huh, great. Did you empty the dishwasher?” What a killjoy.

Long before the days of internet, I remember my father dutifully sealing the stamped Publishers Clearing House envelope, undoubtedly having signed up for yet another magazine subscription (to the absolute consternation of my mother). It said “purchase not necessary,” but Dad wasn’t convinced. That ship has now sailed for two generations without the USS Pubclearhosweeps finding safe port in the Kidd household. I guess we will remain grateful for the monthly Social Security checks.

Isn’t that just how life goes?

I love the Gospel of Mark for a whole lot of reasons. It is the first written chronicle of the life of Christ, and peculiar to its literary profile is the lack of an Easter resurrection appearance. No resurrected Jesus, just a young man (angels are never old men) who, from the opened tomb, told the women to not be afraid (yeah… right), Jesus has risen. “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “

Two pieces of this narrative that tickle my spirit. Who did the women tell? No one, nary a person. Mark is very clear that the women left the empty tomb frightened into a serious case of silence. Frightened they were, “trembling and bewildered,” and there was no way they were going to be hysterical women trying to convince a bunch of cowardly disciples that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Even though this was precisely what he told them would happen. “They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

The promise that “He is going ahead of you into Galilee” is the lead-in to the second part of this narrative that stokes my faith. Jesus kept his word. The disciples were told to go back to their life and trust that Jesus was there waiting for them. This was not a Clearing House moment of promised but unrequited rewards. The resurrected Jesus made good on his promise, and his appearance to each of the disciples changed not just the course of their lives, but the course of history for eternity.

Three years of a most unique apprenticeship program that culminated in the disappointment of Jesus’ cross followed by, “Go back to your life and Jesus will come and find you.” And the course of history is changed for eternity. Boom! For Mark, that is enough. No big Easter Shazaam, just go back to your life and trust that the Savior will precede you. Apparently, grace imparted to us by our faith in Jesus, has proven enough for us as well. The evidence is we keep showing up. I know, a big Clearing House monthly check might be a fun fantasy, but Jesus, who promises to meet us along life’s way, is proving to be of far greater worth.

We’re not done with Easter; the season lasts for several weeks. The church ancient, in her wisdom, set aside almost a whole Spring Season for us to experience and ponder how the empty tomb is changing our lives. To God’s glory. My advice is to be on the lookout for Jesus. After all, he did promise to precede us into our life. I confess though, like the women at the tomb, to sometimes being a little disappointed by how all this is working out. I mean, why couldn’t I hit “click” and get both Jesus and a zillion dollars a month?

I trust that, somewhere down the road, the Lord will explain that one to me.

See you soon,

God loves you and I miss you.

Pastor Tom