Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr B, Uncategorized

Easter Sunday – He is risen! Mark 16:1-8

Scan_20180325Mark 16:1-8

I was asked to do a lectionary doodle for Easter Sunday.  On reflection I wanted to be able to hold in tension the various understandings of what happened on Resurrection Sunday. It might be news to you that not everyone understands the resurrection of Jesus in the same way..

For some it is about Jesus being the substitutional sacrifice for us and our sin, you can see this on the right with the altar and the cage. This understanding believes that our sin has separated us from God and there requires a sacrifice for us to be connected with God again. Jesus makes this sacrifice so that there no longer be a need for sacrifice ever again.

For some it is that the gates of hell have been broken down. I read a beautiful reflection on Judas playing the role that God required, knowing that Jesus would be able to break down the barriers of hell that keeps us away from God and that Jesus actually went to retrieve him from hell.

For some it is that death has been overcome and that this life is not the end but the beginning of a journey with God that would last for all eternity. Thus the empty grave.

For some it is about having direct connection into heaven and that the gates were now open for all not just the special ones. Those streets paved with gold were now available for all, Jesus has the key.

For some this is the ultimate act of God reaching out to humanity. Helping us see, feel and know God’s love in a way that has never been known before. God touching into our lives and us knowing we are seen in love.

For some it is that the bondage of sin have been broken and that the concept of grace, breaks any restraint..  That humanity could do such horrible acts to the innocent in the name of power, greed and fear yet God’s response to this, is that this is not the end of the story.

For some that evil has been part of creation since the beginning of time and Jesus, the second Adam, stood against evil and conquered it, putting it to death.

For some through Jesus there is new life. It is through death in a wide variety of ways, to ourselves, to our sin, to those things that would seek to corrupt us, that the seed is cracked open and we bloom into the rich and full life that God imagined for us.

For some the resurrection is about the restoration of the whole earth.. A new vision of who we can all be together, for how we can be together in this beautiful created world.

Hope. Freedom, Peace.

I wanted to show some of the ways the Church understands what happened to Jesus because I think that all of them offer us an insight into the amazing moment that is contained on this day.. I don’t think anyone can speak with authority as to what was going down except God, but I do think that on that day God was trying to send us a message loud and clear..

Like the women in the garden it is ok if at first you don’t get it or believe it, it is ok if you are too scared to speak the truth, God is present with us even in those moments of deep doubt and fear. But God does not leave us there. God remains with us in love until we are ready to share what we have seen and know with others.

We don’t have to all agree with what happened on that day or what it meant, whatever we understand of it, God took care it. God did not stay with God’s back facing us but returned, in a way so profound and mindblowingly, amazing that it is difficult to believe. But somehow in that special moment the world, life and time was changed forever. Now God was / is and always will be here.

Happy Easter people, you are free, a new creation, loved, renewed, held and welcomed!

Thanks be to God!!!

 

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Posted in Lectionary Yr B, Lent reflections

Unless we let it fall to the ground, it will not grow. Lent 5, John 12:20 – 33

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John 12:20 – 33

I have been pondering this reading all week, it is funny the things you remember from the text.. The key theme for me has been the exploration of the seed falling to the ground and dying so that new life can be created from it.. I was reminded of my lemon tree at home, overhung with fruit, with much of it landing on the ground and no use to anything but the worms.. rotting and dying, mouldy.. But that rot and death is actually what feeds the seeds for new life to grow, or feeds the tree that drops the fruit. Ideally I would love to have used every lemon. I made gelato, lemon cordial, lemon butter and jams. But they just kept coming! Many of them hand not grown properly due to the heat and dry spell we had over the summer. As more and more fruit came, more was left on the ground to feed the life around it.

What I think is useful and the “best” things for my lemon and the vision of God’s creativity are two different thing.. Those rotting fruit did feed the ants, butterflies, caterpillars and worms. They put nutrients back into the soil and added to the eco system. My useless was actual very useful to the world beyond me.. But even more those fruits, when left to rot on the ground provide the opportunity for new life to grow, a new tree that can produce hundreds of more fruit.

Again we find ourselves in the season of Lent so how does this relate to how we think about our own life? I was wondering about the things we need to let go of.. The things we have a certain plan for and expectation around what would be useful, or tasty or right or correct. How often do we keep trying to make the most of these even when we have reached a point where we have exhausted that vision, those lemon cordial bottles, the jam jars. How do we know when we have reached a point where we have to just let it go? Leave things to sit, maybe even to rot a little to see what is the next way that God uses that beautiful fruit. Is this going to feed a butterfly? Is this going to help a whole ants nest?  or maybe even still left longer, does this piece of rotting fruit  sprout into a new life a new plant?

How ever it happens, there are somethings we just have to let go of. They were never ours to hold.. Like Jesus says this can be scary.. it can be hard and it can be heart breaking there is grief in letting go.. There is grief in not being able to use every piece of fruit. But it is not my fruit, it is a blessing from God of which I was given, it may have come from my branches, it might have sprouted under my effort and care, but I cannot make a fruit come to fruition. I am merely part of the journey..

Jesus uses the wheat as an example, it gets one shot, has only one head of wheat. Each seed has the chance to grow another, will it feed the birds? Will it make a loaf of bread or a cake? None of that can happen if we do not let it go to die.

I wonder what it is that I am holding onto tightly that I might need to let go? Why won’t I let it go? Do I not trust what God is going to do with it? Do I think that if it doesn’t look the way I think it should it is not as good..

When Jesus talks about the seeds it is actually about our whole lives. Do we try to control our lives and have a way that we think it is going to turn out? Do we have it sorted? or are we willing to let it go, follow the leading of God in the general direction we are heading and let God sort it?

There are so many areas I can think of where I think other people need to let it go and let it die.. The harder challenge is to sit honestly with my own life.  Yet my experience of the journey with God is that God has it sorted, probably not the lemon cordial I was thinking of, but boy those ants are grateful!