The Rhythm of the Risen Life: A Christian Perspective

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The Rhythm of the Risen Life: A Christian Perspective
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About the Author

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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It was Easter Sunday evening and the resurrected Jesus had been busy. Jesus had appeared to women in the early dawn. Later that day, he had appeared to two disciples walking about ten kilometres to the village of Emmaus.

The two disciples didn’t recognize Jesus when he first joined them. Jesus asked them what they were talking about. They couldn’t begin to understand why he hadn’t heard. The most incredible event of their lives, of their time, and this man hadn’t heard about it. They told him all about Jesus. And they told him about the empty tomb.

Jesus took them back to the scriptures, and interpreted the things about himself in all the scriptures from Moses on.

The stranger on the road to Emmaus took the fear, wonder, skepticism, curiosity, and the joy of the disciples and wove them into the fabric of scripture, teaching them once more what he had spent his life teaching them.

They invited him to join them for a meal when they arrived at Emmaus, and in the breaking of the bread, they recognized him. Again he taught them, and then left them. Luke 24

And the reactions of his inner circle are intense: shock, terror, fear, doubt, disbelief, wonder, and joy.

Jesus appears again, this time to all eleven disciples in Jerusalem, which meant that the two who had seen him in Emmaus ran back to Jerusalem to tell their friends. He hears all these intense emotions.

“Peace be with you,” he tells them. ‘Calm down. why are you frightened? Why do you doubt?’

He reassures them … and then asks for . . . breakfast!

While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them,
‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

Intense emotion … then the ordinariness of breakfast.

As the risen Jesus demonstrates that the rhythm of life seems to involve a balance of these moments of intensity, an encounter with scripture and then back to the mundane.

We have to get on with everyday life in the light of the resurrection even with all our emotions.

The disciples are totally not ready for this. Jesus tells them everything about himself and opens to them the promise of eternal life.

Here’s how it goes:

  • an encounter with the risen Christ,
  • turn to the scriptures,
  • look back to the teachings,
  • go out into the world to witness to this intense experience.

On Sunday mornings, we modern disciples come straggling into church weighed down by cynicism, stress, worry, grief, guilt. We may feel we have some competence to deal with our daily lives, until something happens that startles us, that shakes us to the very core, that shakes our understanding of the world to the core.

And if we discuss and debate the idea of God, when we are yearning for the living presence of God — sometimes we miss God’s presence in our midst. The disciples were yearning for Jesus to come to them, but as they discussed and debated what had happened, they didn’t even recognize him in their midst.

Jesus’ appearances tell us that the Good News of his Resurrection is for everyone. God’s salvation has come for all people. But it’s a hard message to believe for anyone.

There are so many obstacles to us truly seeing: we can be too preoccupied, too suspicious, too busy to actually recognize God.

But in moments of grief, perhaps all that reserve is stripped away and we can see our way to God a little clearer.

Jesus takes time to help help the disciples.. ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t doubt,’ Jesus tells those disciples gathered together around the dinner table in a home in Jerusalem. ‘Look at me. Touch me. Go ahead. You’ll see that I’m no ghost, I’m real. I am the same person that walked with you and taught you; that cried and laughed with you; that scolded you but also affirmed you. It is me.’

Each year for 55 years, our church has held a fertilizer sale to support the work of the church in the community. Fertilizer Day for me is a time of connecting with those we may not see in church from Sunday to Sunday for many different reasons, but who, over the years, have not had at least one spiritual conversation on Fertilizer Day. In a very imperfect way, I am trying to spread a little spiritual fertilizer.

In one conversation yesterday, a man discovered that he had a spiritual bucket list — things that he wanted to do for others and we talked about him taking Toastmasters to Six Nations in Brantford. A teen thought maybe he should come back to church for confirmation — his spiritual bucket list calling.

Others express concerns for family members or friends and how they might help them. And others feel blessed to be able to volunteer or buy fertilizer as a way of staying connected — it’s a spiritual act for them — on their annual spiritual bucket list.

For those of us who are able to worship more often — we are blessed. We can feast on scripture every week. We can hear Jesus meeting our needs, regularly. We can practice moving through the emotions of our life with the risen Jesus, hearing him connect them to the scriptures and then getting on with breakfast — the mundane aspects of our lives, with renewed understanding that we are children of God through the risen Christ.

We come to the well, and drink deeply. And in joy and obedience we leave able to love others deeply from the heart.



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