Teaching in the parish

Teaching in the parish

This blog is to share the teaching within the parish

We are a parish who worship in four churches whilst being one worshipping community. Those who teach and preach within the parish wish to share what we believe God is sharing with us as we journey into the local communities and those in the wider areas.

Reverend Yvonne Callaghan - Imagine

Sunday 23rd April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 23, 2017 13:13:44

Imagine

it was evening

on the first day of the week..

that means the day after the Sabbath

Sunday

the day when everyone could resume to normality..


But for these disciples

who have been through a week of such trauma and change

what is normality

they have had their feet washed by Jesus

they have been told they are to be servants of others

One of their group

One of their friends has betrayed Jesus

and don't forget..

Judas has betrayed each of those who ate the last meal with Jesus


All but one of the men had slowly abandoned each other and Jesus

Jesus had been tortured in ways which we can still only imagine

but the graphic press of today brings us nearer to understanding the horror of Good Friday..


Peter has denied Jesus three times as predicted

Mary has met the angels and spoken with Jesus

Mary the first evangelist

told not to hold on to Jesus as he had been

the familiar Jesus

whom she had followed and loved

Mary was not allowed to know him in that way any more

but was to know him as the risen Christ

the one whose story she must tell again and again..

Mary was not allowed to hold on to what she wanted..


So after all of that here we are

we meet the disciples as they are locked away….. LOCKED AWAY

they weren't at peace to sit and eat

they were still fearful

they were still reeling reeling from all of the changes

all of the loss

all of the confusion..

And suddenly here we have Jesus standing among them.

He didn't open a door

he didn't make a grand entrance

those whom he called his friends

and said “Peace be with you..”


I know we hear that a lot

But peace… peace.. after all they had and were experiencing


Yet the memories of John as he speaks of Jesus are indeed calm, very matter of fact

"After he said this.. he showed them his hands and his side..


I imagine it wasn't as succinct as that..
I imagine it was a lot more subtle..
but the way the statement is written brings stability to the reality to all they have lived through..


We who are reading these words all of these years later

can reduce the effect of Jesus just appearing among the disciples, wishing them peace,
and then showing the wounds of his death... to a statement ..

not the life changing moment it must have been


Similar to what we read last week in the garden

where the stone was rolled away and Mary recognised Jesus

who responded to Mary with the words “don't hold on to me Mary..”


It seems the familiarity is there… but things have shifted

"don't hold on to me Mary "

I believe in those there simple words

Jesus is saying

“hey… its going to be ok.. I've got this."

It wont ever be as as it has been but it is going to be ok..

And part of "its" going to be ok..

means you are going to be ok

ok does not mean perfect

sorted

it means “I have this“

And “have it he does”

As Jesus breathes into each of their beings the Holy Spirit

and as he does, he equips the disciples for the future of all they are to do

for all they are to do without the physical presence of Jesus..

It seems Jesus does indeed “have this”

things sounds sorted don't they?

“ it “ sounds ok..


But then we have Thomas

Thomas remembered for his doubting

and not knowing the way to the Father’s house

when Jesus said he was preparing a place for each of us


Yet amid that sorted

amid the “I’ve got it”

“ I’ve got you”

“the ok ness “

the peace that Jesus offers to us


The echoes of the voice of Thomas

is the voice of many of us today

Thomas reminds me of Victor Meldrew..

Famous for saying I DONT BELIEVE IT..

and not understanding situations and circumstances.


How many of us are like Thomas... ?
I don't believe it..?

I don't know the way to how we are going to sort things out.

I don't understand how we got here

I certainly don't understand where we are going.

Well …..lets look at those words

I don’t believe it..

How many of us find so much of our present experience unbelievable?

America… North Korea… Russia

Another National Election

Paris

Westminster Bridge

Brexit

etc., etc.,

right down to the 2030 vision of Ripon Episcopal Area..


How many of us want to turn back the clock?

hold on to what we understand?

hold on to what we like?

How many of us want to hold on to what we have?

How many of us haven't got a clue what on earth is happening.. ?

How many of us haven't got a clue how we are going to get to 2030?


Many of us are at some stage or another

are like Victor Meldew

like Thomas …

like Peter..

Remember Peter was one of those who denied Jesus

he even got upset and frustrated when he thought Jesus didn't understand he was saying sorry


Yet here we have Peter speaking in the book of Acts

The Acts of the Apostles..

brave Peter empowered by the Holy Spirit, standing with the other disciples
and addressing the people of Judea and Jerusalem..


Peter.. The one who denied Jesus three times

is today the one stood in front of the Jewish people

and sharing the Good News

Peter is stood among those who could have been the ones calling for the death of Jesus


Yet empowered by The Holy Spirit... Peter is giving his testimony

This man who denied Jesus is changed, he is not holding on to the things of the past

He recognises the future, the future of telling the stories of Jesus

Sharing his experiences and sharing the theology behind those experiences..


Showing the promise of God that one day he would put a descendent of King David on the throne of Israel..


Showing that King David himself had told stories of Jesus saying that death would not hold him

Hell was not his captive nor would his body degrade


Peter is doing theology through sharing the story of his life with Jesus and his life as a Jew .
Peter is no longer confused..

Why?


Because finally understands that nothing can be the same

Peter finally understands

that no matter how many times we doubt Jesus

no matter how many times we struggle to understand

Our Lord Jesus

breathes afresh his Holy Spirit within us

as he forgives

as he restores

equips

and enables each of us…

even when we don't understand the situations we are in..


So my questions today is are you able to let go of what is familiar

Are you able to let God guide you?

Are you able to share your stories of faith with others?

Some of doing that is dangerous.

some of it is hard work.

WHY? because it is hard work for us to let go

let go of what we are familiar with

it is dangerous to trust God

and let our Lord breath his spirit of life into us

because we then become empowered by his will

his authority and not our own…


Remember last week Peter really did not understand

that Jesus was sending him to share the story of his life

his time with Jesus ….

his time of not understanding

telling his testimony to the Gentiles..

that was dangerous

doing something new

sharing food and housing with gentiles

is risky in the eyes of the Jewish people..

Peter must have very clear memories of what happened to Jesus…


What I am hearing today in our readings is something we have known for a while

it’s something we may not want to do

because its dangerous


But the “IT”

"It "means we have to let go of all we have held on to in the past
and let our Lord guide us into our future.

The process will be difficult, just as the process for the disciples was difficult


because when we let our Lord guide we are sent into situations, not of our choosing, but of our Lord

Trust is hard work, as can be sharing our stories

because we leave ourselves open to questions, to being unsure as to where we are going, except to know that where we are going, we do so with the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

And that again takes us back
back to the disciples on the first day of the week, hidden away, afraid, because as Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them, not as a perfunctory exercise. Jesus as he breathed was empowering them to forgive others as he forgives us..

Jesus was empowering them to share the stories, write them down, share them verbally share the Good News..


And today Jesus empowers too,
he will empower us to believe and share the stories, so that we and others may believe and have life, life in abundance, in the name of Jesus.. Jesus who calls each of us his friend


Amen