Archive for April, 2009

Resurrection realities


Thought I’d share some early drafting of my sermon for this Sunday night, based on Luke 24:36b-48. I’ve begun by  asking the question: What will you do with the risen Jesus Christ? It’s the passage that follows on from the Walk to Emmaus narrative – where those who broke bread and witness with their own eyes the risen Jesus walking that road with them – break the news to a still-numbed group of disciples back in Jerusalem.  About 1/3 of the way into the sermon, I share as follows:

So … I like to think that this post-Emmaus account of Jesus appearing with his disciples is about the “5 F’s”.  We know the 3 R’s – reading, writing, ‘rithmetic.  The 5 F’s – fingers, feet, food, faith and following.

We’ve had the fingers, feet and food – as Jesus reveals his hands and feet – as he enjoys a meal of baked fish.   In encountering the risen Jesus, it doesn’t get much more real – much more tactile, and excuse the terrible pun, “hands on” than this! But then we have the “F” of “faith”.  Passages like out text tonight are designed to confirm faith in the resurrection: that Jesus has been vindicated by God, is alive, and wants his disciples to continue his work.

To the question from Easter Day and revisited earlier: have you encountered the risen Jesus Christ?; the disciples’ response would be unanimous: absolutely!  The narrative – verse 44 onwards leads us into my question for tonight: What will you do with the risen Jesus Christ?

These are Jesus instructions on what from here? The OK – now what? implications.  It’s all about the 5th “F” – the following – the giving witness to the risen Jesus.  The stuff of discipleship.

And what is the task?  In many ways, it is both simple, clear and straightforward – to proclaim forgiveness of sins in his name to all the world. It finds its echo in Acts 1:8. ‘You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.’   Those who are to be witnesses are those who witnessed the events of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection.

My question earlier was: What will you do with the risen Jesus Christ? Well, as we read this passage from Luke, it is clear that for Luke, encountering the risen Jesus … fulfilling the hope of the risen Jesus is bound up in telling out the Jesus story – how he lived, how he died, how he rose again – for the world, for all of creation, out of God’s incredible love for that creation – for you, and for me.  It’s bound up in telling … in sharing … in proclaiming in confidence, in faith, in hope and in love how and why the risen Jesus has impacted your life — that things are not — and will not be the same again, once you have encountered the risen Jesus.  It’s the power of human story … it’s the power of human testimony.

But it’s more than this – and it must always be so.

Continue reading ‘Resurrection realities’

the world says … Jesus says:

Through the inward/out blog, I came upon this great quote today from Frederick Beuchner

the world says …  Jesus says:

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own—and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks we can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

Source: Listening to Your Life

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bagpipes and Johnny at Easter

cross2749bI’m reflecting on two conflicting pieces of music heard nearby – one at church, the other this morning: Good Friday from our patio.

Wednesday night, as my colleague Josie leads our church’s Holy Wednesday service – a quite, reflective one … what should waft through from the property next door, but the shrill and piercing sounds of bagpipes … above the sound of busy Station Road traffic and late-night shopping centre hustle/bustle across the road. It was hard to not be distracted by the music of this piper.  What’s he doing playing exactly at the time of our worship service?!

And then today – as Dale and I share our customary hot cross buns and brewed coffee for morning tea – after leading a Last Words of Jesus Good Friday service – from our usually very quite next-door neighbours – what seemed like Johnny Cash’s greatest hits!  Yes – not only do we reflect on When I survey the wondrous cross, O sacred head sore wounded and Here hangs a man discarded (we sang my setting) on Good Friday; we also ponder I walk the line, Folsom City Blues, Jackson and A boy named sue.

Once again I was reminded, as I was repeatedly through our weekly Lent bible studies, that we who are Christian find ourselves as a somewhat curious minority in the bigger picture of Australian society.  The issue is not that we are necessarily lampooned or disrespected – we can so easily become in irrelevance, a grouping far off the radar of most people.  No big deal for an Aussie to play their bagpipes or crank up the Johnny Cash during this most holy weeks.

In this week – the central week in the narrative of salvation history – did bagpipes and “the Man in Black” win out?  That’s not what my faith tells me.  That’s not what the life, death and rising of Jesus tells me.  Amid moving Jesus (so they thought) so off their radar to the point of relegating him to the cruelty and scandal of  a cross – Jesus has the final word – the final victory. Despite the horror and the sacrifice, Jesus wins out.  Love and forgiveness win out over the sin of our human condition, life wins out over death.

Amid the bagpipes … and a dose of Johnny … just part of the world Jesus comes into to redeem, reform and offer life forever.

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