John 20:1-11 (10) Then the disciples returned to their homes.
People rarely make instant decisions. People rarely get it straight away. No matter how obvious it may seem, no matter how remarkable something maybe, we seem to resist accepting what is there in front of us. Particularly if it impacts on the status quo. We like things to stay the way they are, especially if we are comfortable where we are. We resist…..
Transformation and change.
We want things to stay as we know them, as we expect them to be, as they are. Even when that maybe uncomfortable, life-sapping and soul destroying, we tend to, or want to at least, stay right where we are. It is the the frog in the boiler syndrome. We resist…..
Transformation and change
God struggled to get the chosen tribes of Israel to confront change, to leave behind the practices and traditions of the tribes they lived amongst. He sought to get them to leave behind their trust in things, in violence and in strange gods. God was sometimes successful, more than often not, any success was short-lived, and the people soon drifted back to what was familiar.
Jesus complained out of frustration about the lack of faith of his chosen ones, the disciples; the fickleness of the people was well demonstrated with the change from the euphoria of Palm Sunday to the crucify him of Good Friday, and the ‘hurry up and come down from the cross’ taunts of the religious leaders standing around late in the day.
Jesus was there because he preached transformation and change, the letting go of our dependence on things – material and immaterial – wealth, power, status, control and the familiar. His sermon on the mount, his outburst in the temple, his countercultural embrace of women, prostitutes and the outcast; all demanded…….
Transformation and change.
It was ignored then and it is ignored now.
Craig Fitzgibbon, Australian Labor Party minister said this week, ”In Sydney’s west you can be on a quarter of a million dollars family income a year and you’re still struggling, coal miners in my electorate earning 100, 120, 130, 140 thousand dollars a year are not wealthy.”*
At the same time the ABS statistics released at the beginning of the year says the average income of an Australian worker is just over $70,000. The average income for pensioners is $20,059 single and $30,242 for a couple.There seems to me to be a lot of poor in our society created by an addiction to the great god wealth and possessions by others.
Any conversation started to discuss this discrepancy becomes one in which people become defensive, protecting what they have against those they fear are wanting to poach what they believe they are entitled to. Yet, the good news of Jesus asks us to become countercultural, to let go of our possessiveness and to ensure others have sufficient for their needs. Our present policies and practices fail to demand…..
Transformation and change.
The disciples are summoned to the tomb, having been told the good news. Jesus is risen! You would have thought they would have spread the word quickly and gathered in praise and worship at the tomb. If they wanted a sign of Jesus’ authenticity they had it. If they wanted proof Jesus was who he said he was, they had it. If they wanted evidence of his power, here it was. They had nothing to fear now…….
but fear itself.
And that is it, for them and for us. We fear what will happen next, how the ruling powers of our society will respond, how governments, corporates and financial institutions will respond when we pull the plug on their multi-billion dollar exploitation of the desire for more. If society embraced a simplified and minimalist lifestyle, all would be able share more equitably in the wealth and wholeness available.
The disciple feared the Romans and the synagogue heavies, the people who manipulated and controlled the ordinary person through violence and corruption. They didn’t want to be blamed for bringing down the military might upon their people; they were also afraid of bringing down the system under which they lived, for fear of what would happen next.
Jesus is risen should have been their cry. It was obvious. The Romans wouldn’t have taken the body and run the risk of making him a martyr, the Jews surely wouldn’t have for the very same reason and because it occurred on the sabbath. Grave robbers were unlikely to rob the body of a man so poor he was laid in a borrowed grave.
It had to be true. And only the women got it. These were the representatives of those without power or position in their society, ruled over and possessed by men. They were ready for transformation and change, and stayed around in the hoe they had just witnessed it in the empty tomb.
The men went home, where it was safe, where they were comfortable, waiting for something or someone, preferably a man, to tell them, what happened. They weren’t going to embrace this transformation and change without more evidence and proof.
This morning is the beginning of a new way of living and the end of the power of death – not physical death, but the death we suffer when we remain where we are for fear of transformation and change.
The challenge to you and I is this, is this just another Easter day when we walk away and remain the same, or is it the beginning of something new?
Or are we like the disciples, who after witnessing the most awesome event in history, ‘returned to their homes’? Worth thinking about.
They did, and how that changed their world!