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Devotion -- April 18 -- "Holy Community"

Until Covid-19 became the overriding obsession in all of our lives, I had never taken note of one phrase found in the resurrection account of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. After Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to the tomb and encounter angels who tell them that Jesus has been raised from the dead, and on their way to tell the disciples this astounding news, they meet Jesus who greets them. They enjoy a good hug and then Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” In this time of isolation, Jesus’ words to meet with his disciples again, takes on new meaning. Can’t you imagine how excited Jesus must have been in being able to gather once again with those he was closest too? Can’t you imagine Jesus just bursting at the seams waiting to tell the disciples about his experience with death and the moment of his resurrection? Likewise, can’t you imagine how excited the disciples and women must have felt in being able to be with Jesus again? What a moment to know that death wasn’t able to separate them! Can’t you imagine them grabbing what they needed for the trip as fast as they could and rushing out the door and starting for Galilee? You may have noticed in another Gospel, Jesus meets the disciples earlier than the meeting in Galilee. On Easter, suddenly is suddenly in their midst and he says to them, “Greeting.” and the place explodes with joy! Now this is just speculation on my part, but do you think it is possible that after Jesus told the women to tell the group to travel to Galilee to meet him, he finds that he just can’t wait that long to see them, and decides to go the house where they were hiding? Community was of immense importance to Jesus. The Son of God never went it alone until he was forced too. If you read about the beginning of his ministry you find that one of the first thing that Jesus does is gather together his disciples. Throughout the rest of his ministry, they are always with him. He needed community as much as we do. But Jesus did face the pain of isolation on that fateful night on Thursday and Good Friday. It was a terribly painful for him. That’s why Jesus must have been so happy to reunite with them on Easter. Back together! Back in community! Unity restored! Stories shared. Laughter. Tears. Joy. Hugs. All the things a community does. We find ourselves isolated nowadays from one another, but just like Jesus, know this – the separation is temporary and the day will come (soon we all hope) when we can gather together again with our church family. And just like the disciples and women were filled with joy at the reunion, we too will have a welcome back to church bash that will be spectacular! And it will be made spectacular by your presence. And together (like we are meant to be), we will meet Jesus and sing for joy and we know once again, all is right with the world. Until that day comes, be safe, be strong, reach out to one another in responsible ways, and take advantage of the slower pace of things to spend extra time with your Savior and your family. ~ God bless, Pastor Dan

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