Friday, February 03, 2017

Luke 24. Counseling together. Learning from each other. Avoiding being fools and slow of heart to believe.

Luke 24

They [Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James' mother Mary, and other women] found the sepulchre empty and encountered “two men in shining garments” who said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

And the women “remembered [Jesus'] words”!!!! Oh yes!! That's right!! He did!! and so they went, bringing the news of their experience with the angels to the eleven apostles, most certainly reminding them, as they had been reminded, of what Jesus had said about being crucified and rising again on the third day.

Which experiences and things the apostles apparently did not only not remember, but also pooh-poohed the women's words as “idle tales” and did not believe them...

though Peter did, to his credit, go and look for himself, and wonder, afterwards, at the empty tomb that he found.

I think we may have found here, in the early church, an example of an extreme lack of the skill of counseling together, an inability of one group of people to consider the information from another, likely due to their sex in this case, but which in other cases may be due to different things that make the one group fail to listen or believe the words of another, simply because they are “other” and their ideas, perspectives and experiences are very different than our current patterns of thinking., that same day, we have the “road to Emmaus” story, where two are traveling and encounter the resurrected Jesus, and do not realize who he is, and tell him their understanding of what happened over the last three days and of the odd, and not quite believed, tale the women had told. And what does Jesus say?

“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

And then, later, he sits down with those two, and the eleven, and once again, unfolds the details in the scriptures that he had told them before and that they had not remembered, and which failure to remember abetted their discounting of what the women had been reminded of and believed.

One message I suspect that may have had running though their minds: "I should have listened to them.  It would have been less awkward for me now, if I had.  And I certainly would have saved myself many hours of grief."

I really hope that no heavenly messenger or other divine being ever again has good cause to say to me, “O fool, and slow of heart to believe...” due to my out of hand rejection of the beliefs and experiences of others who have joined me in councils and conferences and circles of conversation, or whose experiences and words preceded mine by many years; rejecting because they are, in my mind, “other”, people whose experiences or perspectives or energy levels or understanding or cultural background, or ethnicity, or sex or age or anything else make me subconsciously discount their stories or the news they bring.

I'm certain that I have deserved it sometimes. It is an easy habit to fall into and a difficult one to recognize in oneself and then totally eradicate instead of laughing and excusing one's behavior, or becoming defensive or irritated or dismissive when it is pointed out.

So, once again, I am in awe of the careful, patient, thoughtful, listeners I know.

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