Saturday, 14 April 2012

Inconvenient Resurrection

It takes a while to absorb the death of someone we love. To let the news sink in, to make our peace with the loss and grief and emptiness, with the rage and the turmoil stirred up in us. That, in itself, is a roller coaster ride. But imagine the disciples state of mind when, in the throes of that emotional journey, they are faced with the Resurrection. In a funny sort of way, wouldn't it have been easier to deal with death than with this crazy state of affairs - a loved one come back to life? At least, in death, there are customs and traditions and protocols, an almost defined trajectory. Not so with Resurrection - this is charting a whole new territory. A territory that still seems awkward and unfamiliar for followers of Jesus today. Still, we wonder, how can we accommodate this (supposed to be) good news? Wouldn't it be easier to be grieving disciples? At least then we'd know what role to play, where we fitted in. But to deal with the non conformity of Resurrection takes us into unfamiliar waters, for which there is no manual let alone 5 stages. There are no tomes written about what feelings we might experience, what might be normal reactions. And so we have to deal with it - this alien landscape that confounds explanation or direction. We have to absorb it and run with it.
So, having done our best to observe the Passion, to journey carefully and faithfully through Holy Week, gathering around the cross wrung out on Good Friday, and just about managing to release the Alleluias and proclaim the good news - He is risen - on Easter Sunday, what now? There is more demanded of us. Much more. After all that expression of emotion, do we have anything left to give? Wouldn't it be easier to stick with the shadow of the tomb than to emerge into the sunlight of the garden?
Far simpler to deal with the more familiar pattern of grief than to be cast adrift in the Resurrection for which there is no template or guidelines. Are any of us willing to confess that Resurrection is just a little inconvenient? For even as we proclaim the good news in loud voices, inside our heads is a cacophony of "what now" questions and the realisation that a journey we expected to be over has only just begun. Worn out with Lent, we must hit the ground running again. The Risen Jesus does not make it easy for us in these early days beyond the cross, beyond the tomb. But the Risen Jesus does sit with us, offers us food and asks - "do you love me?" The Risen Jesus takes time to offer reassurance of our worth before commissioning us to "feed his sheep". The Risen Jesus knows only too well how inconvenient is his Resurrection.


Beth said...

It is quite inconvenient, isn't it - to be left in unchartered waters with no basis even for fears, let alone expectations. What a challenge - I wonder how I'll live into it. Thanks, friend.

Paul McKeown said...

Hi Liz - hope you are well and settling into Ayr. It's been a while now! I am still sojourning away here in St Hackett's in the East (Belhelvie to give it its Sunday name). More Nineveh than Tarshish recently, but my skin is getting thicker and a little more resilient.

I'm writing to see if you'd be ok with me lifting one or two of your 'community' based sermons from last year which I really enjoyed. I could do with a little space over the next couple of weeks to plan and push on some other things and it'd be a help to have your sermons as a launch pad. You ok with this?

For what it's worth, I have a sermon blog from which you are more than welcome to beg/borrow/steal -

Hope to meet up IRL at some point in time.

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