Ramble for its own sake, but sort-of for the lectionary gospel 14th April 2024.

 So, the post-Easter morning lectionary ramble from the empty tomb, to the locked room where frightened disciples were hiding, via the Emmaus Road, zig zags back to the locked room (Luke 24 and John 20). Risen Jesus pops in, reminds the forgetful (and uncomprehending at the time) disciples what he had told them about his death and resurrection, and signs off “You *are* witnesses of these things”. Note: not, you *were* witnesses, as if mere observers, but reporters, evangelists, ongoing bearers of the good news for everyone which Christ’s death and resurrection brings. It is an awesome and fraught commission. Why fraught?

Let me tell you a story. At a lovely (I have been blessed, all of my placements, parish or chaplaincy, have been with and among the most amazing colleagues, parishioners, patients, residents, call them what you will) country parish, my predecessor left me a couple of magnetic signs for my car, advertising the church, its activities and service times. As an aside: He said that on a few occasions the signs had dissuaded the local bobby (an old-fashioned saint in blue, by the way, immersed in the community, would that all police were like him) from booking him for traffic infractions. Didn’t work for me. Sergeant Ken jumped out with his speed thingy from behind a tree one Sunday when I was on my way to a service at a satellite mountaintop church 25km away, “Richard! Was there a reason why you were doing 78 in a 60 zone?” Anyway, back to the story.

I drove around in my conspicuous Landcruiser (not conspicuous because it was a Landcruiser, they are vehicles de rigueur in the country, but because it bore magnetic signs *witnessing* to the local Uniting Church. And by extension, to the church’s mission and witness of the gospel.)  And it reached my ears that the Uniting Church minister was more Mad Max than St Francis. So when one of the signs fell off in one of the tortuously twisty country lanes, rather than go back to retrieve it, I ditched the other one too. Too late by that time, of course, everyone knew to whom a green series 70 Landcruiser belonged. Declaring “Peace be with you” to the cong, baptism families, wedding couples (the mountain top chapel was wedding central) rang a bit hollow when I didn’t even offer “Shalom!” to drivers sharing the road.

See? Adapt as necessary for your situation. You’re not the Moderator/Archbishop? Nor a PresMin/Bishop? Nor ordained (of course you are ordained, but that requires a longer ramble than this, and dismantling millennia of post-Apostolic clericalism which has infected even the Uniting Church). But you absolutely *are*, present tense, a witness to the love which drove Our Lord to the Cross, and to the justifying power of his resurrection. I should have, and you can, live like it.


Popular posts from this blog

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 25 June 2023.

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 1 January 2023

Ramble for Good Shepherd Sunday 21st April 2024