May 9: Shalom Aleichem

Okee dokee smokee, here’s where John veers off the resurrection reservation bigtime!  Read John 20:19-23.  Remember for Luke the Resurrection of Jesus is paired with His ascension into heaven during one very long day?!  Well here, in John, the Resurrection is paired with the Pentecost event of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles all in one day!  And I am profoundly Johannine in my theological self.  It coheres for me that the divine power unleashed by Jesus’ passing over from death to new life would unleash also divine power for those nearest to Him.  Why wait another 50 days for goodness’ sakes?!  Let’s get on wit’it!

John explicitly notes this evening is the same day as Easter morning at the Empty Tomb.  Everyone is together, presumably including Mary Magdalene and perhaps Joseph and Nicodemus also.  Locked doors present no obstacle to the Risen Jesus, interestingly.  And His first words to the astonished disciples is Shalom Aleichem, an ancient Hebraic greeting of friendship, which He then repeats so they actually hear it!  He then shares His divine mission with them, giving them the Holy Spirit and divine authority to bind and loose sins for eternity.  Wow, what a day for these women and men!

While John does not narrate Jesus’ departure here (funny point, that), he does note the absence famously of one disciple, the one we’ll consider tomorrow.  But for now…

  1. A bit more Shalom in your Aleichem perhaps?!  Anyone besides me needing to hear our Risen Lord proffering us the gift of profound inner peace which passes all human understanding?  How does Jesus conquering eternal death give us Peace today in this moment?
  2. A bit more Holy Spirit in your Eastertide perhaps?!  Anyone besides me needing a double portion of God’s dynamic presence manifested and enacted in our daily life here and now?!
  3. A bit more forgiveness in your binding and loosing language perhaps?!  Anyone besides me needing a reminder right now that Jesus gave us divine authority to bind and loose our fellow believer’s souls for all time?!  Anyone else needing a little motivation to lean more “loosing” than “binding” these days?!

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