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Idle Tales

Idle Tales

Friday, April 25, 2014 – Easter Week, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 136 (morning) // 118 (evening)

Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Luke 24:1-12

When Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women tell the eleven disciples about their experience at Jesus’ tomb, no one believes them. According to Luke’s gospel, these women reached the tomb, found the stone rolled away, found the body missing, and saw two angelic men in dazzling clothes who told them that Christ had arisen. However, when the disciples hear this good news from the women, it sounds to the men like merely “an idle tale.”

Many of us bear stories that are hard for others to believe, either because the content seems impossible, or because we don’t have the prestige or perceived “impartiality” that people trust. Our unbelievable stories may range widely from crimes we’ve witnessed or survived, to mysteries we can’t explain, to discrimination we’ve experienced, to miracles that we scarcely believe ourselves. The disbelief of others can sometimes keep justice from being done, keep heartfelt change from happening, and keep joyful and life-giving news from spreading.

What should we do with the tales that seem idle to others? We could simply ponder and cherish them. We could give them away as gifts to people who are open to them. Or, we could risk telling these stories even when it might pain us to do so, in the hope that they might reach someone who needs to hear them.

It seems like Peter was that person who needed to hear these women’s tale. Peter may have doubted the women’s report, but at least he went to check it out for himself. He didn’t get to see the dazzling angels as the women did, but he did find the tomb open, the body missing, and the linen grave clothes lying there. And he returned home, “amazed at what had happened.”

As people in search of a faith that is receptive to news of the risen Christ, we can try to listen today to voices we might not normally trust, and to tell stories we might normally feel too silly or self-conscious or self-protective to tell. If these stories provoke investigation and amazement in ourselves or others, they are probably worth telling. Faith that begins with inquiry and wonder is off to a very good start.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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