This year’s spring study retreat has a dual focus. The first looks at four biblical characters—Peter, Judas, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Through a close reading of biblical texts, we will see that each experiences a life- and faith-altering moment that brings them face to face with the realization that they are not who they thought themselves to be—disciples of Jesus and covenantal partners with the God of Israel. With the innocence of their self-understanding laid bare, who are they? How does each respond to this disorienting and terrifying insight? What might their struggles teach us?
The second focus of our study offers a counter to these four characters by exploring two others. The first is the God revealed to us in and through Israel’s prophets and Mark 15-16; the second are the women of Mark 15-16. Each gives witness to the persistent power of fidelity in the midst of a world gone awry. What might they teach us?
I am convinced that the pastoral power of these narratives lies in the recognition that they transcend both text and time, and thereby offer those willing to be once more astonished by the Word of God a word of hope that might sustain them, or those they hold most dear, in the midst of their bleakest of days.