The next sentence

Years ago I wrote about the next sentence.  I’ll link to the posts below. But here’s the core of the idea: “For every illustration, for every event, for every lesson, for everything that I know captures attention, I need to think about what comes next.” What comes after the illustration, the event, the training, the party, the song, the album, the book, the Resurrection.

It’s a perfect question for the morning after Easter.

Jesus had several next sentences after the resurrection.

  • For a couple of his followers on the road, the next sentence was. “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” After they answered, the next sentence was, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
  • For Thomas, the next sentence was, “Peace be with you.” It was followed by, “Put your finger here, see my hands.”
  • For Mary Magdalene, the next sentence was, “Woman, why are you crying?”
  • For some disciples, the next sentence was, “Friends, don’t you have any fish?” Followed by, “try the other side of the boat.”
  • For Peter, the next sentence was, “Do you love me?

His questions were specific, directed to the people and the situation. And he wasn’t always gentle with their feelings. In fact, his questions seem designed to challenge people to move past the experience of his death and resurrection into commitment, evidenced in action.

His last words to them, from a physical body standing in Israel, pushed them to move from sentimental celebration of seeing him again. Instead, he said “go and make disciples of all nations.”

So, I’m curious. After Easter weekend, with pageantry or not, with family or not, with quiet moments or not, what’s the next sentence? In your journal, what’s the next sentence you are writing?


Check out the second episode of “The Bible for my friends”

Part One: The next sentence
Part Two: How I messed up
Part Three: Teaching as a performance
Part four: Afraid of what comes next
Part five: 8 Ways to write the next sentence

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