April 2019: From the Minister‘s Blank Canvas
They say when speaking or writing to a group start with what your audience knows. This month is about Easter, who would have thought it.
What does this audience know about Easter. Well after years of sermons and articles we should know quite a lot about Easter. Who was involved should just roll off the tongue. Where the events took place should not require the help of Alexa (Alexa is voice activated ‘know it all’ and entertainment device). You should know something about why Easter took place and its relevance to everyone. You should also be keen to promote this information to others.
The obvious next question is easy, do you believe in the resurrection.
If I called round on you to ask these questions I think some would panic or pretend to be out. ‘Do we believe in the resurrection’ is one of those questions that matter to the evangelicals, theologians and atheists. The later will call you deluded, the theologians will grill you about the exact meaning of your belief and the evangelicals will demand a very specific set of words to accept your assertion. I simplify the matter somewhat but in all sorts of way it is no wonder that people are not in a tearing hurry to show their hand on the resurrection.
You can of course take comfort from Jesus’ followers. Jesus mentioned more than once he would pop back after his death but when he does they hardly do cartwheels down the street. They think he’s someone else; they don’t recognise him; when others report the wonderful news of his return they are not believed. Jesus even walks with two men on a road to Emmaus and when he breaks bread and vanishes they then state ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked ?....’
Many struggle with this event, it goes against what we expect, what we know and what we see around us. It’s not every day we are asked to believe the unbelievable but God is providing a revolution, an answer and a cure. God doesn’t always do the ordinary.
For the thief on the cross the matter was simple he noticed that Jesus was without sin and this observation got him into heaven before Easter. Jesus didn’t deserve his death but he died for all of us. Work with that and belief may feel much easier. We cannot close our minds to resurrection but living with a knowledge that Jesus was sent for a purpose, and was not like you and I, will build an awful lot of bridges in our faith. We may not have the full picture about Easter but trust Jesus and believe that something great has been done for us. It may take us a lifetime to see what that entails.