April 18, 2011

April 18: I have seen the Lord

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By Grace Parker, a junior English and Bible and religion double major from Wichita, Kan.
THIS WEEK’S THEME: I have seen the Lord

DEVOTIONAL:

Mary Magdalene, previously shocked and grieved by Jesus’ death, suddenly appears to the disciples and declares, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). She had seen Jesus – alive, standing outside of his tomb, talking to her.

What? How could that have been real? Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to actually see Jesus in the flesh. No doubt I would be terrified. Maybe I wouldn’t even recognize him, like Mary, who “turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus” (John 20:14). Maybe I would doubt, like Thomas.

And yet Jesus says: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

I have not seen Jesus in person, but I have come to believe by recognizing God in the small, normal things of life, like waking or eating or talking with people. I have also experienced God in isolated and profound moments.

A few years ago, I was at a convent for a retreat. The convent was a holy place full of ritual and prayer. I was drawn to its stillness. During the first night of the retreat, a friend and I decided to explore. We planned to go to the chapel first. Upon opening the door to the chapel, however, we knew we would not leave for awhile. We entered the beautiful, shadowed room and became part of that sacred space.

My friend and I sat in the chapel for a long time – separate, but together. At one point, she spoke up, saying, “Grace, it’s like Jesus is…here.” I could only nod as I felt the truth of her words.

That night, I felt the Lord personally and believed. Other times, I feel like Thomas and cannot find the evidence of God’s existence. Still, I hold onto moments like I had in the convent and continue to seek the Lord in the life around me.

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Comments (13)

  1. Thank you for you powerful, personal message. I had my own “Jesus moment” as I read your devotional. I love it when that happens.

    Guy April 18, 2011 |
  2. God is so faithful to give us what we need. Those special moments when we know His presence are awesome, but being able to believe when it’s not so evident is the beauty of our faith. Thanks for sharing from personal experience.

    Ruth April 18, 2011 |
  3. Thanks Grace :) I really appreciate this message. What a good reminder before I start my day.

    Brook Hostetter April 18, 2011 |
  4. I totally resonate. Thank you!

    Lois Kennel April 18, 2011 |
  5. Wonderful Lenten message! I would love to know more about a spiritual retreat at a convent. How can I find out more?

    Irma Mahone April 18, 2011 |
  6. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Have a good school year.

    Frank and Cara Ulrich April 18, 2011 |
  7. What a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing it

    Ethel Umble April 18, 2011 |
  8. I had moments like your convent experience. Thank you for reminding that moments of doubt arise, too, but the “convent” ones are deeper and more binding.

    marjorie April 18, 2011 |
  9. I’ve the same experience listening to a J.S. Bach-Cantate with the wonderful music that tells its own story about God in our midst!

    Rien (minister De Ark, Hoofddorp, The Neth.) April 18, 2011 |
  10. Dear Grace, What a beautiful and consoling thought: Jesus is here. When Jesus has ascended to the Father and sent the Spirit, Magdalene will know him in a new and much better way. When she tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”,she is stating that personal and mystical experience of God in human life: an experience of loving recognition rather than an impersonal exchange of information. This is what you have experienced, dear Grace.
    Happy Easter.
    from Mervyn

    Mervyn Carapiet April 19, 2011 |
  11. Thank you!!! I appreciate your sincerity concerning doubt and your openness concerning faith! Those powerful moments of faith definitely help us get through the difficult days of silence. May the Lord continue to bless you.

    Brian Minietta April 19, 2011 |
  12. Thank you, Grace, for a meaningful and thoughtful reflection. I will ponder it.
    Pastor Anne from PSMC

    Anne M. Mitchell April 25, 2011 |
  13. Thank you , Grace this article is a great way to start the day.
    friv

    Rumwaldo January 4, 2012 |