Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
The kids in the car thought we should go help, so we picked up the lady, as well as Ashley (the little girl) and drove her home. They all helped carry her things up the stairs to her apartment. Sent chills up our spines.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 08, 2012
You don’t have to answer this out loud, but do answer it in your mind….Why are you here? What are you looking for?
The three women have gone to the tomb where Jesus was buried. They’ve come to take care of his body properly, for there was no time right after he died before the Sabbath prevented them doing any of the work. They know what to do, just like some of us do coming here today, to pay our respects, tip our hat in token appreciation for the holy aspects of what has become a cadbury bunny and chocolate holiday.
They’ve come expecting a particular thing to happen—they’ll find a dead body, do what they have to do, and leave. They know what to expect, just like some of us do coming here today—lilies, songs, maybe trumpets, uplifting music. We’ll sing and smile, here the same old story then go on home having done our duty, and relegate the story to the dusty shelves of our souls.
They’ve come also worried, who will move the stone away for us? Just as some of us come, a little concerned that we might have to do something hard….like Nicole playing the Widor toccata! We sure hope someone else does the hard work for us…..
They also have come in grief. They have lost their dear friend. And they’ve been waiting helplessly through Sabbath, in the darkness of sorrow. Their dreams have been dashed. And some of us come, sad with loss, or hurt by the death of a relationship, uncertain of the future. Perhaps we come, knowing our life’s work has lost its meaning, or the love we once had has died in us...
And what happens? All their assumptions and expectations get turned upside down. The stone’s moved, so someone’s done the work already…there is no body, so we can’t just do what we thought and move on….and they get the word that Jesus is alive, not dead. Dashed dreams may be reborn? sorrow is not to last? a very real loss has been transformed into something new? They, and we, stand on a threshold of a complete change of thinking.
Jesus isn’t there. This mystery apparition at the grave says, you’ve come looking for something dead. He’s not here. He’s alive and gone ahead of you, and is waiting for you.
He’s not here….but you are. Go and tell, says the vision.
They, and we, hear a new thing….death doesn’t have the last word. Violence and hurt aren’t the way of God. Life is. That’s the good news of Easter that God is offering!
Go and tell. And what happens? Mark says, “they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
What kind of ending is that, Mark? No resurrection appearance of Jesus…..the silence of the women…..their fear? I’ll tell you what kind of ending it is. It’s a rotten ending.
That’s probably why later editors of the story added a couple more endings, and the first of them has Mary Magdalene telling but nobody believed her….that’s almost as bad an ending as Mark's original. Eventually of course, someone did tell. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And I'd be out of a job.
But originally, Mark ends his story there. Like your favourite TV series, he ends one season with a cliffhanger. Huh? We’re left with a question. Now what?
And that’s where Mark’s genius shows. He’s not a rotten storyteller; like Jesus before him, he leaves the meaning up to us.
Jesus is not here. But we are. What will WE do with this news?
God takes what looks like death and failure, and transforms it into something new. God’s way is NOT crucifixion and scapegoating and retaliation – God’s way is LIFE….new life,
life that is different from what we came looking for and expecting,
life that turns its back on all the stuff that crucifixion stands for
and turns forward to living by resurrection power instead.
As for the three women, so for us: Jesus has gone before us as well…..to invite us into a new way of life, to draw us forward into that Life force that gives us wisdom and fortitude and courage to BE what we call the Body of Christ.
Jesus is not here. But we are…..WE are the hands and feet and heart of Jesus, called to do what he did
Jesus is not here to walk out of the tomb into new life…we are, and the dark places that hold us have had their stones rolled away already..we need to walk out of those old ways of death-thinking
Jesus is not here to feed the hungry….we are, and poverty needs resurrection’s life force
Jesus is not here to heal the sick…we are, and health care needs resurrection’s life force
Jesus is not here to proclaim the good news of God’s power to transform lives, but we are, and there are a lot of people living in dark tombs of dashed dreams that need resurrection’s life force.
Jesus is not here to stand up to the forces of violence and death. We are.
Jesus is not here. He’s alive and gone ahead of you, and is waiting for you, inviting you into a new dance of life.
Go and tell…or are we afraid? No! We do not live by rotten endings. We live by resurrection power. So this isn’t a rotten ending, it’s a great new beginning.