Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter 2 (B)

I Want You to Get Excited About Your Life


The worst day of my year has to be Boxing Day. How about you, what do you think the worst day is? I think Boxing Day because you put so much effort into Christmas, it means so much, and then, like all of a sudden, there is nothing. The stores have moved on to Valentine’s and people are putting away the lights.
Sigh. So what about Easter, that was so last week, right?

There is a line in the opening of Doctor Phil, now I am not saying I watch Doctor Phil, but you know, on occasion in a doctor’s office or something… and he says, “I want you to get excited about your life!”
I happen to think that is something Jesus might have said on the day after Easter to his disciples.

Story Time – Holy Humour Sunday

I've got the joy down in my heart.
“Bright Sunday” - Sunday after Easter – day of joy and laughter

parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead

Laughter Sunday or Holy Humour Sunday

Q. What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?
A. “Where’s pop corn?”…

Q. What did the pony say when it had a sore throat?
A. I apologize, I am a little horse!…

Q. Why did the clown go to the doctor.
A. He was feeling a little funny.…

Q:  Where do snowmen go to dance?
A:  A snowball!

Q:  What kind of lions do you find in the park?
A:  Dandelions

It's important to be joyful all the time, isn't it? It's important to laugh and be happy and silly and play games. Did you know that in Old English the word “silly” has the same root as the word “holy”? So we are being holy and doing what God wants us to when we're filled with joy. 

1John from the Message

 1-2From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, and verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
 3-4We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

Walk in the Light
5This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him.
 6-7If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth—we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin.

Getting Excited

I am sure if I was around to see my friend come back from the dead I would get pretty excited…
At least, I think I would, don’t you? Of course, when bad things happen, our mood plummets. Perhaps the disciples were a bit depressed after this whole Easter Weekend gone wrong thing. Perhaps they were feeling gloomy and Eeyore-ish and nothing would have cheered them up.

So when one of the disciples comes and says, rather excitedly, I have seen Jesus, he is back from the dead…. The response was probably pretty lack lustre. “Sure, good one, life is terrible, this is terrible, stop trying to make jokes.”
I bet a few of us have been in the same place, had something bad happen and then be sure it is just going to get worse…

It is hard, isn’t it, to pull yourself out of that feeling.
Well, this is where we get back to Dr Phil, as he would say, “how is that working out for ya?”

And then he would tell us, “I want you to get excited about your life…”
Jesus, in our passage from Mark, rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief.  Now, we don’t exactly know what the words Jesus used were…. But I am sure it was something like, “What are you doing?” “Why are you all locked up in this room? Do you think my death was supposed to end everything, was this all I taught you….”

No… that is not what he intended. And not what happens. There is something there that changes their minds, something that lifts their spirits and makes their hearts so full to overflowing that when he says a little while later – “go out there and spread the good news!” they do…
So… what would it take to get us that excited about Easter? About God? About Church?

You see, Easter is just the beginning, now, what will give us enough joy to become who we were meant to be…
And it can’t be half hearted.

There is this story Bruce Larson tells of attending a conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they weren't used to saying things like "Hallelujah,” or “Praise the Lord." And maybe this would give them a way to express their feelings. All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased.
I am new here…. Maybe you are different than me, but I suspect lots of us would not let go of the balloon…

So why not? Well, how about fear of what people would think. What if we were too excited, too emotional? Would people look at us funny?
I think there is the other side too, there are times when we are trying so hard to do the right thing that we suck all the fun out of it. We want to let the balloon go, we just don’t know if this is a good enough time, or if this is when the people meant, or whatever… and we are overthinking it.

“I come,” said Jesus once, “that you might have abundant life!”
Easter happened, so that we would know joy.

Want to hear the three funniest jokes of all time:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: "Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you see." Watson replied: "I see millions and millions of stars." Holmes said: "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson replied: "Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth out there. And if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life." And Holmes said: "Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"
A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: "That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!" The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: "The driver just insulted me!" The man says: "You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you."

… so is it good enough to sit around and tell jokes? Well… yes… studies have shown that mind over matter is a real thing. It seems that our attitude changes everything; and so, far more important than having someone say “Easter Happened” is the question, “How does it make you feel?”
And I want us to look at it in its most basic form – that Jesus came, and died, and lived on in those who come after simply to show us that life is meant to be lived no matter what happens. That love and joy and hope are more important than all the Good Fridays and crucifixions we might face.


Paul ends the 8th Chapter of his Letter to the church in Rome with these words:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God”

This, in the end, is the message of Easter, it is the “Good News” it is the joy that keeps us for another year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brett, after a long week of loss and grief and a true good Friday feeling, Easter shone through in your reflections. Jen