What does it mean to be open?
I’m reflecting well in advance of my sermon this Sunday, looking at Luke 24:26-48, another post-Resurrection story about the fearful disciples encountering Jesus in the midst of their wonder, confusion, and isolation. The key verse for me says that Jesus “opened” their minds to understanding and goes on to try to help them make sense of what just happened to their beloved teacher, now back from the dead. For whatever reason, that is resonating with me, so I’m starting there.
The word open is a friendly word to me, just because of my personality. I am a creative guy – I love art and new experiences. I like to explore possibilities, no matter what I do. So, being open means welcoming fresh energy and perspectives.
For the disciples post-Easter, they were likely not open. If anything, they might have been stuck between grief and hope. Their beloved teacher had just been put to death, but rumors were circulating that he was actually alive. They gathered back up and retreated to a locked room, perhaps to get their facts straight and try to figure out what was going on. The word “opened” thus is a stark contrast from their environment – an isolated, dark, secretive room away from prying eyes and outside forces.
It’s easy to assume that Jesus is just explaining everything for the disciples in plain fashion, but if you go on further in the scripture passage, he tells the disciples to wait and pray. So, Jesus isn’t doing the big reveal and wrapping up the story. The resurrection appears to be just the beginning – there is more to come. In a sense, Jesus is preparing the disciple for that next journey or possibility that was about to come. Maybe this is what it means that Jesus “opened” their minds.
I suppose my question for you all is this:
- Do you see faith as an open or closed structure, flexible or rigid? Why?
- Has there been any time in your life when you felt closed off from the outside world but then someone or something came in and opened you up to new possibilities? What was that like?
- Does the resurrection make sense to you? How do you understand it today? Has that changed?
I welcome your responses below. Let’s think and reflect together.