Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said.She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly Jesus met them. (Matthew 28:9)
Can you imagine meeting him face to face? My whole being aches for that day and I think of it often. Do you? Do you think about his gaze, his embrace, his voice, his love? Do you long for that moment of crystal-clear knowing when your heart finally and fully understands what it is to be home? You’re brave and secure in His presence, his eyes of love burning through you, straight to your heart.
When Jesus rose from the dead he didn’t hide, he found his friends and followers. But even then, they didn’t recognize him. We, too, struggle to find Jesus graveside, on dusty roads, behind closed doors, in hunger, and in fishless seas. And so – he reveals himself.
Today, we break our fast to celebrate the risen Christ! Celebrate and anticipate his return with gladness!
The past thirty-nine days of decrease have unsettled us, uncluttered us, and increased our capacity to see, serve, and celebrate Jesus. Add your voice today to the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. With the angel at the tomb, proclaim, “He is not here; he has risen!” With the women greeted by a stone that had already been rolled away, be filled with joy and hurry to tell others. With the two along the Emmaus road, hear Jesus’ voice, and let your heart burn within you. With Thomas, exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” With the Eleven, assemble with others and ask God to open your mind to understand the Scriptures. With the heavenly host shout, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come.” And with John pray, “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” (40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast, Alicia Britt Chole).
Jesus, you are alive! I long to see you face to face! Meet me here today, right where I am. Let this season of decrease continue in my heart as, with John the Baptist, I declare, “You must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). Take my heart, my life, my all. Amen.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.