Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

Listen! Let all who have ears, listen! Listen and I will you a story.

This is a story about a man named Jesus. He lived a long time ago, 2000 years ago in the Middle East. He lived a special life, one filled with radical love and inclusiveness. His life was so beautiful, people remember him all these years later. It’s hard to forget someone so special and filled with so much love.

Jesus was a teacher and preacher and he taught the people that God’s kingdom of peace and justice was for all people. Jesus taught the people that it was important to follow laws and have rituals but it was more important that the laws and rituals were life giving and filled with love.

Jesus inspired a lot of people, a lot of people. Crowds would gather to hear him speak, people travelled great distances just to see him. There was something so special about him. There was something profound about him that made people think of God. Jesus loved so fully and forgave so generously he seemed he was almost like God. People began to use God language to describe this him, to describe what they saw. They said he could do amazing things like walk on water and calm storms. They said he could do even more amazing things like welcoming children to sit on his knew and speaking to woman about the kingdom of God.

A life filled with so much love and kindness is the most beautiful thing. A life filled with so much love and kindness is the most dangerous thing.

It’s dangerous to those in power. It’s dangerous to the status quo. It’s dangerous to the way we’ve always done things. Jesus talked about a landowner who pays all his works a full day’s wage when some only worked a half day. That’s can’t be right, can it? It’s not fair! Our economic systems would collapse if we did things like that. Jesus preached release to the captives and let the prisoners go free. That’s chaos! It’s not safe! Don’t they deserve to be punished? Jesus told them to love your enemies? What? How can you possibility love your enemy? They are your enemy for a reason, aren’t they?

A life filled with so much love and kindness is a dangerous thing. And it was very dangerous for Jesus. He was living in an occupied country, a place where it was best to lay low and not risk upsetting the powers that be. You’ll only risk making life more difficult for yourself. But Jesus didn’t lay low his message was too important. Not only did be not law low, along with him followers they marched, they paraded into the city of Jerusalem at one of the riskiest times of year, during the Passover festival. It doesn’t get more dangerous then that. And so Jesus was silenced. He was executed by the state. The ruling powers couldn’t risk it, they saw the influence he had with people and it threatened their own influence. So they assassinated him.

What a devastating shock, how could this happen? How could God allow this to happen? How could Jesus allow this to happen? Clearly he could have held back a little, not upset so many people for a greater good. It was such a waste, he was killed only a few years into his ministry, why didn’t he live longer? Love more? Go on changing the world?
But he didn’t, he died. They killed him. It was over. It was clearly over. Oh the things he could have done, oh what the world would have been like. Jesus’ followers fled, terrified to be associated with him, worried they were next, the next one to be killed. It was the end.

The dreams they had for Jesus. The hope they had for him. They thought there was something different about him, they thought Jesus’ actions and teachings made an invisible God, visible. And it was all for nothing. They were wrong, so wrong. How awful. How embarrassing. It was over, really over. Their teacher was gone, their friend was dead. It was the end.

Now listen! Let all who have ears listen!

Because the most shocking part of the story is still to come.

His followers thought it was over, the political powers thought his message was silenced by killing him. But listen I said earlier that Jesus lived 2000 years ago in another part of the world, so then how is it that I came to know these stories about Jesus, how did I learn about this man who loved radically and then died?

I’ll tell you how I know…I know because they tried to silence his message about God’s love. I know because they tried to stop his influence with people. They killed him. But it wasn’t enough. That couldn’t stop the message! It was to powerful to be stopped. It was too important, it was life giving and death couldn’t stop it.

The disciples were scared and lost without their leader, without Jesus their teacher. Teacher? He had taught them when he knew, he had even told then, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things.” And so they did.

The disciples and Jesus’ followers continued to preach Jesus’ message. They showed the love of God they saw made known in Jesus’ life. They didn’t let his death stop them.

They knew that he had been killed but that he still lived. Sure, they had been scared and fled but they now realized that love and hope were stronger then death and pain. God was doing a new thing, a thing that no one could have expected. It wasn’t over at all.

Jesus had been the special one they thought he was. In his life and even in his death he could inspire people and give them hope through the stories that were told about him. It wasn’t the end, not at all. It was just the beginning…


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