Resurrection Changes Everything

Early in the morning, still dark. A group of women walk silently to a garden across the city. There’s not much talk, if any they’re carrying  jars and they’re intent.

36 hours earlier their closest friend, teacher & companion had been cruely and awfully put to death as a common criminal. The memory is still too raw, and the last hours of inactivity have been too painful. The enforced rest of the Sabbath has been a waiting  in a place of agony and  impotence.

So now, as soon as they possibly can, they come, to do what should have been done two days ago, to prepare his body  properly for burial, to weep, and mourn as is their custom and indeed their need,

No one has slept,  they;’re tense and watchful,  no one is quite sure how they might be received by patrols of soldiers out on the roads, either for being known to be the teacher’s friend, or worse still just expendable women.

We come to this story knowing what is round the corner,  it’s hard to imagine that we don’t,  but let us try to, to  put ourselves in the minds & hearts of these women, walking towards a tomb, and a task that held no hope, that signalled the end of so much promise.

Imagine then the thoughts that coursed through their minds when they came to the tomb and saw the stone gone… are we in the wrong place? What’s happened? What’s gone wrong now?

And as they think these things in stunned, sleep deprived shock, they see the men, the angels before them, who remind them of Jesus’s words to them, and suddenly everything makes sense – even the stuff that had seemed strange and incomprehensible when he said it,  but yes, it was true and it made sense to them!

It was an amazing truth, it might not sound right to anyone else, but  to them the change round was instant and incredible.

Resurrection changes everything.

And so they rush off to tell the men, huddled for fear in a room together, maybe the room they’d hired for Passover,  spices forgotten, mourning forgotten

The message the truth the celebration was the only important thing,

And they arrive, breathless and excited, and yet strangely coherent and focussed.

And they’re dismissed

Brushed off

An idle tale. Women’s fuss & gossip.  Don’t be silly – calm down dear..

If you’ve ever had a message or an idea or something you thought was really important dismissed, you;ll have an understanding of how they must have felt.

Women weren’t regarded as reliable, they couldn’t testify in court, they had no legal rights at all. Marginalised, expendable,  of no real value.

The other disciples  perhaps had tolerated their presence during Jesus’s life,  because he had, and now, well… delusional silly women, what on earth are they talking about?

I’ve often wondered whether later those women got an apology, or whether the celebrations were so great it really didn’t matter.

Their message dismissed because of who they were. Just how silly did the men feel later I wonder?!

The bible is full of prophetic voices, its full of messages that seem to make no sense, and yet are full of truth and grace and reality.

It’s easy to dismiss a message because of the messenger,

It’s easy to dismiss a prophetic voice because it seems so far out there as to be incomprehensible

Combine those two and in a way is it any wonder the disciples dismissed the news.

Who are those prophetic  voices in our society today, in our churches? The voices bringing a message that is so different we find it hard to accept or understand? The voices standing up for justice and mercy, The voices proclaiming the Kingdom of God here and now, the radicals and the visionaries.  Those who bring to us  a message of challenge and discomfort,  a message that is going to change everything

And who are the marginalised in our societies, the voices we ignore because of who they are?

It’s still women in many places, and many situations,  it’s  still too the  economically less powerful , and those  fighting for others rather than their own interests. It’s the victims,  both men & women and it’s those who we find it hard to accept for their lifestyle or their  politics.

Resurrection changes everything

Not all the disciples dismissed the women’s story

Peter,  Peter of the crass  comment and the foot in mouth, Peter who had , when it came to the crunch crumpled, and denied Jesus

Peter went-, he had faith in the women and the message, and he went to see for himself.

He behaved in a  way that was counter cultural, and counter rational, but he’d seen in their story a glimpse of the truth that he had to go & investigate.

We need to be more like Peter, to glimpse truth and resurrection in the most surprising places,

To learn from those we’re surprised to learn from

To remember that God choses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise,

To remember that God entrusted His Son to the weakest and least powerful ,

To a  young girl to birth him and nurture him

To a band of young  illeducated  disaffected men to walk with him

To the poor and sick and immoral  to  love him

To women to mourn him and to be the witnesses to the greatest thing God had done –raising his son to life!

Resurrection changes everything

–If God can trust these people to live his life with him, then we can  too.

We can trust that God uses everyone and anyone –

Including us, weak and powerless as we might be, or influential and strong.

We can look for God’s truth and his message everywhere, and trust that He knows what he’s doing.

We can glimpse the Kingdom in surprising places, and rejoice in its growth and its grace

We can with great joy and confidence  proclaim the Risen Christ – women & men together, young & old, rich & poor,

Resurrection Changes Everything

 

Alleluia

Amen

 

 

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