Last week an 8 year old boy walked into his classroom in a school in the US prepared for show and tell. When his turn came he produced his fathers coat. He put his hands in the pockets and produced 50 small plastic bags containing drugs. It was a surprise for his teacher but an even bigger surprise for his father when he came to collect his coat!
Show and tell is always a surprise as Thomas found out – yet Thomas’s experience came from his questionning of the claims of his fellow disciples. The claims of Jesus’ resurrection were not so much unbelievable for Thomas but required him to have an encounter with Jesus. When this happens he doesn’t do what he said he needed to do – touch and feel the wounds on Jesus body – being shown the present Jesus was enough for him to see.
In discussion with a patient re treatment and drugs a doctor recently said,’do not give any drug or doctor the power over your life. See for yourself and decide.’ Important words in a world where science has become the most powerful good news and where people give away responsibility to others – primaily through diagnosis – hallelujah, I have an excuse for my behaviour.
Thomas did not give his power to live into the ressurrection story away to others who had seen Jesus. He retained the right to move into the resurrection experience at his own time and space. Interestingly Jesus honours that and makes it possible for him to do so. One little meeting was all it took to kickstart Thomas’ into a new man, but it was accomplished at his pace.
The resurrection is key to our faith. The possibility of hope and light after the dark night of the soul which was Good Friday and the subsequent Saturday transforms the life of those with Jesus, and has the possibility of transforming ours. Yet it is more than the physical resurrection story of Jesus. It is how we see the world, the circumstances of our lives and where we are now.
I fear too many Christians are locked into a world view that is Good Friday – their life is dark, of little hope and they cannot or do not see the green shoots of resurrection rising under their feet. While they know the world has changed, and they need to embrace that change, they are locked into failed mindsets, pointless ideological positions and structures which prevent them doing so.
Perhaps they are locked in Saturday, the inbetween space betweeen despair and hope unable to make the move into full blown possibility. They can see clearly what has happened, the world has changed, yet they can’t see what is coming, so they stay where they are, waiting for some certainty before they move forward, before they embrace the green shoots of hope that is the resurrection.
Living in the resurrection is a dangerous place. It asks us to leave behind old paradigms and ways of doing things and of being in the world, and to embrace risk, ridicule and failure. It asks us to see for ourselves the possibilities and to seek after them with all our being. It asks to see what is all around us – life, hope and adventure – it asks us not to give away our power to others, to the what if’s, to the looming disaster and the perceived certainty of failure. It says too us all things are possible, it says to us go on, step out and discover the excitement of being alive when you where once dead, trapped in fear, locked in Good Friday or Saturday.
In the movie the best exotic marigold hotel the Indian proprietor of the hotel says, ‘Everything will work out in the end; if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.’ If you haven’t seen the movie, please do so. It is a movie about the resurrection, those who choose to embrace and those who choose not to, who want what they had, not what is there for them now. The characters embrace, slowly the possibility of the future and in doing so discover themselves. Each grows into the idea and experience in their own way and time, some, alas, do not.
And that is the truth about resurrection and being resurrection people – it is something we grow into. We grow into a changed viewpoint, a new perspective on the world. We see it differently and we do life differently. We take control, we push the boundaries, we explore new posssibilities and take enormous risks, aware that if it doesn’t work out this time, it’s not the end.
The resurrection is our life now and it’s our choice whether to live it or not. Choose to be a resurrection adventurer and go for the ride of your life. It will challenge and scare you, but it will always be full of surprises and new experiences. Go on, I dare you!