The dawn after the worst day,
Mary Magdalene and her friend Mary had seen
Jesus, whom they deeply loved—
A radiant, beautiful, strong young man
Tortured, mocked, and judicially murdered.
But as they visit the tomb, they encounter Jesus,
Very much alive. Chairete, he says, Rejoice.
And then, the very first sentence the risen Christ,
Speaks to those who love him–Do not be afraid,
Do not be afraid. Why?
Because the impossible has happened,
And a dead man has returned to life
(And was later seen by at least 516 people).
The risen Jesus is no longer confined by
The dictates of space and time.
Like oxygen, he is with me
In every room I enter, and with you,
An invisible, but real friend.
I am never alone.
Wisdom and strength is always available
If I slow down and request them.
Do not be afraid, because the resurrected Jesus
Breathed on his disciples, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,”
As he breathes on us today.
Jesus observed that justas even evil parents,
Do not give a snake to a child asking for fish,
Or a scorpion to a child requesting an egg,
His Father will not refuse His Holy Spirit
To those who ask for it.
And it is the power of the Holy Spirit
Which helps us change
Our hearts, our characters, and our lives.
Do not be afraid,
Because the resurrection of Jesus
That explosion of seismic power
Has burst the boundaries of what is possible.
God’s miracle-making power is now available to us
Our world is now a whole lot more magical.
The Apostle Paul writes that the surpassingly
Great power for us who believe,
The hyperballon megathos tes dunameos,
The dynamite power of God available to us on request
Is the same as the power which raised Jesus from the dead.
And so we have the Holy Spirit’s help for the issues of our lives.
Nothing God wants us to do will be impossible to us.
And so, we need no longer be enslaved by addictions,
Dependencies and our own bad habits. We can break
An addiction to chocolate or sugar or caffeine
(All of which I have eventually done!).
We can get out of the confining rooms
Of bad habits and our personal “can’t does”
Sometimes just like that,
With an act of will empowered by the Spirit.
The risen Jesus gives us the key to key to freedom.
“I once was dead, but now am alive,
And I hold the keys,” Jesus tells John
In the Book of Revelation. The keys of his Kingdom,
In which he wants us to live peacefully
As we would under his real-life kingly eye.
We can find freedom from indulging a bad temper.
And by turning our eyes on Jesus, as the old hymn says,
And an arrow prayer for his help,
We can channel our cranky, negative energy
Into prayerful intense focus on how best to live
Our one wild and precious life.
We can progressively find freedom from tormenting
Emotions or thoughts which waste our time and distract us:
Emotions of jealousy, unforgiveness, worry, anger or fretting.
God’s explosive, dynamite power can invade our lives
And progressively change them,
Through prayer, through the power of the Holy Spirit,
And, also, through our own willpower and determination.
(And God also works through counselling,
And talking to wise, trusted, friends.)
To get God’s endless energy and boundless strength
(as Eugene Peterson puts it) to saturate our little lives,
We need to slow down,
So that we remember to pray, and
Ask for God’s guidance and blessing
Over each thing we do in course of our days.
As we begin to master this habit,
Our days will look different.
Our lives will look different.
Everything in our lives gets better by practice:
Running, or writing, or good housekeeping or prayer.
So, start transforming your life by prayer.
Start small. Ask for God’s wisdom
Before you embark on the activities of your day:
Sessions of housework and decluttering,
Exercise, gardening, meeting friends, emails,
Social media, business or leading things.
God, how do I do these things well?
Can I do them better, in a more efficient
Or maybe a kinder way?
Does this even need to be said, or done?
God, who will guide us, likes nothing to be wasted,
Including our time, the most irreplaceable thing in our lives.
You’ll be amazed at the efficient and wise suggestions
The Spirit has, on how to do things
You’ve often done far, far better.
And as we increasingly experience God’s guidance and
Mini-miracles, our faith increases.
Practice praying on your walks,
As you do your housework or gardening,
As you drift off to sleep.
Practice praying deep into your life,
And over it, in ever-widening circles.
Anything in our lives that we do not
Bathe in prayer is something we believe
We don’t need God’s help to accomplish.
And that is foolish.
So I am training myself to convert
My thoughts into prayer,
To pray through the preoccupations,
Which scurry through my mind,
Writing, work, finances, health, travel plans
The things I want to see happen in my children’s lives
And, also, to pray for my friends and, sometimes, even my enemies.
We skitter like water striders on the surface of life.
But if we slowed down, the Spirit would whisper to us
The words which sustain the weary.
Oh, what grace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer.
Prayer is like pouring this immense flood of light and power
Into the little petri dish of our problems.
When we do it, God’s power can change our circumstances
Sooner than we ever imagined.
As we practice bathing our lives in prayer,
We ourselves change,
Our lives slowly change,
And our faith increases.
Oh God of resurrection,
Come with your dynamite power into our lives.
We put our old dreams and our new ones into your hands.
Bring them to life. Make them glow.
Come like a mighty burst of spring into our lives
Bringing apparently dead relationships, dreams,
The things we once loved,
And all our dormant potential to radiant life.
We put our lives into your hands.
Make them beautiful.
Come Lord Jesus.
This is a meditation on Matthew 28.
I would love you to read my memoir, fruit of much “blood, sweat, toil and tears.”
Rosaries, Reading, Secrets: A Catholic Childhood in India in the UK, and in the US, here, well, and widely available, online, worldwide 🙂
If you’d like to read my previous recorded meditations,
Thank you 🙂