Thursday, April 17, 2014

John 20:1-18                                                                          

What have you witnessed?  

It's the sort of question a police officer or a judge might someday require of you - that you describe, audibly or in writing, the details of what you have seen or heard at a particular time and place.  Memories play tricks and entropy takes its toll even on recall.  Sometimes it takes the collected memories of a series of witnesses before the real story can be reconstructed or the reliable core of the story can be established.

Know this, though:  a small number of disillusioned and failed followers of an itinerant prophet from Nazareth were transformed, in a very short time, into agents of hope.  They transformed their world and went on to refashion ours.  Resurrection not only "was" something - with reference to God's raising of Christ on the third day - but it "meant" something.   We know its reality not only in the collecting of testimonies from the four Evangelists but by the history of what followed.  

When you throw a stone into the centre of a pond the ripples travel out to the edges.  Truth is spoken to the powerful by humble people who, seemingly, have no fear.  The great persecutor of the early church becomes one of its chief apostles and advocates.  The boundaries which separate the wealthy from the poor, the Jew from the Gentile, fade away.  God has not only raised Christ from the dead, he has raised us as well.  This power over death and meaninglessness is extended to the lives which we lead.

What the disciples saw, and heard and touched with their own hands will be the subject at hand this Sunday.  That is only the beginning.  The Sunday readings between now and the day of Pentecost move into what this unique event means for his followers.  Christ in his resurrection is "the first fruits" of a harvest to come.  "Christ is risen....and so.....".  What has happened now to you (and what will happen in the future) is part of the story.

The invitation to live abundantly has been extended to us as well.