Wednesday, April 3, 2013

John 20:19-31,"We live to tell the story", Eastertide One, 2013

The fastest growing venture in our nation today is security. There are a multiplicity of security firms all over our nation and our world. Some specialize in finance, or internet and network security and others personal security and of course a long time main stay since the 1980's...home security. Another very lucrative security venture is national security. In the US we spend 6.9 billion dollars in homeland security and another 526.1 billion dollars in defense spending (defense spending = military spending). The US can't afford universal healthcare so the 50million people or so who are uninsured can have adequate health coverage nor can it afford to increase or simply maintain Social security and medicare benefits for it's citizens who have worked their whole life for those benefits, but we can continue spending 7% of GDP on military....just a thought ;). BTW thats more than the next 10 nations combined. Anyway, if you have invested in security over the past 6 years you are probably doing better than the majority of Americans who lost their life's savings in the recession, in fact you just might have made money especially if you are a defense contractor. Since 2001 the US has spent 7.5 trillion dollars in defense and homeland security. Did you know that there are apps you can load onto your smart phone that allow you to lock your car doors and even start your car? There are also apps that allow you to lock your home doors, turn your home lights on and even monitor both the inside and outside of your home while you are not there! There are security firms that specialize in home monitoring that can detect when your children come and go and that will also allow them to check in when they come home via video...all this accessible on your smart phone or tablet! AMAZING! We have amazing capabilities for security purposes in our country and maybe it's well needed, maybe it's over the top, but either way it's all very impressive.

Jesus' first appearance to the apostles after his resurrection was to a frightened bunch locked securely within the walls of an upper room, but the security of locked doors and closed windows was not enough to keep them safe from the glory of the resurrected Christ. Unlike most people who break into buildings with locked doors who desire to steal and bring fear, Jesus breaks into the lives of these disciples and gives hope and brings peace. His peace translates into wonder and then into joy. So Jesus came to his disciples bring both peace and joy...and a call. Often we see ourselves as called, which we are. Jesus' message as he breaks into their security bunker is an affirmation of that call, a call to be son's and daughters of God just as he is the Son of God, but this call is coupled with a purpose and with that purpose we are sent. Jesus says to them, "Just as I was sent, so I send you", or in the King James, "So send I you." What are we sent out to do? To preach a message of the forgiveness of sins, not on our behalf but as an ongoing witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

I love stories, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find another human being that does not appreciate a good story. Our favorite stories are about people. The best selling genre of literature in the world is the biography, not sci-fi or romance, but stories about real people in real life situations. We find those stories meaningful and we are inspired by other people who overcome similar or worse situation than we face. When it's all said and done Christians, we are story tellers, who tell the story of a man who overcame everyones greatest fears and doubts, including and especially death. Scholars debate what was at the heart of the first proclamation of the story, called the kerygma by early Christians. Was is the combination of a life of ministry to the poor and oppressed and a death at the hands of oppressors and the symbolic resurrection that shows that evil cannot triumph where there is good? Or was it the story of a God/Man who triumphed over the spiritual forces of this world in order for us to have eternal life in heaven? I think it's a combination of the both. I think any thoughtful Christian would feel the same way. We are sent with a story about a God with the capacity to become human and the will to save humans, not just from spiritual death and not just from the things that cause death, but from both. This is a message of holistic redemption and no one, regardless of security precautions are safe from God's message of Love as long as we who are sent refuse to stop telling his story!

Happy Easter!
Pastor Josh

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