Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; I John 2: 15-17, 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48 Oremus Bible Browser

‘Christ is risen’ is a harmony and a chorus that is sung by the creative activity, the divine spirit in the leaven in the lump

The fulfilment of everything is in the hands of the acts of the apostles

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

It’s good for us to be aware that the Acts of the Apostles, where we’re taking the first reading from as we follow Easter are exactly what they say - they’re the acts of the apostles. It’s sort of an opportunity for us to look at what living is like in the resurrection. One of the interesting things about this morning’s reading is that already, already the apostles, the disciples, the followers, the witnesses, are healing and bringing perfect health to others. That’s a pretty big thing to do and yet that’s not where the focus of the reading is this morning, we sort of omit that bit, which suggests that what we are given this morning has got something even more important to say.

Peter charges the people in this reading: ‘You killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses’. And later on he says, ‘Repent therefore, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out’. Peter is calling, as we heard in the lead up to Easter, still calling the disciples, the followers, the wider community, to a change of orientation. It’s a stunning phrase: ‘You killed the author of life’. And one of the things that we might do is to try and translate that phrase. See I think, the phrase relates to our everyday experience: life, our life has the capacity, the potential, the orientation, to be authored in the Divine. And it’s interesting if we then just pause for a moment and reflect on, where is my life, your life, at the moment? Do you have that sense of it being authored in the Divine? It’s got nothing to do with age, there’s no letting off the hook when you’re 98 – ‘Oh yes, mine was authored in the Divine years ago.’ It’s in the present moment, the unfolding of your life. Does it feel to you as if it is being authored in the Divine, divinely written? It’s not about our achievements. It’s got nothing to do with what we’ve got, it goes much much deeper: it’s about our participation in the divine activity. Do I have a sense that my life is moving towards loving creation into its fullness? Actually it’s not really, it’s just sort of waiting till the next episode of the OC comes along. You see there’s a huge gap, a huge gap that can occur in our lives. This is picked up I think in the New Testament reading that we have from 1 John: ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world.’ And then later: ‘See what love that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.’ If we know ourselves as children of God then we’ve really got a sense of being authored in the Divine. Suddenly the reality of Easter can start to take shape. The cross is a living tree, it has roots, its roots will reach down within us and the branches of the cross will reach out from us. ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world, see what love that we should be called children of God.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s good for us to appreciate that Easter is not a world event, nor was it two and a half thousand years ago. There are more people being born every day who have got no idea about Easter and probably never will have any idea about Easter. If we want to get historical about it, the whole thing took place in an area smaller than the metropolitan area and they were very slow to get it on the Net and tell the rest of the world about it. It was not a world event, it is not a world event. Easter is the Passion, the intimate revelation of the Divine, the revelation of the Divine to the leaven in the lump, not to the world, to the leaven in the lump; those who bear witness receive the revelation. Those who bear witness receive the revelation.

And to begin to look at what was revealed, we continue with the readings and we come to Luke’s gospel, probably chapter one of the Acts of the Apostles, or Acts of the Apostles is chapter two of Luke’s gospel. Luke again is seeking - the writer here is seeking for us to reflect on what has been revealed by the Divine and to reflect alongside that early post-Easter community. So, what we find is the narrative is filled with descriptors of the community: startled, terrified, had doubts, disbelieving, wondering. This describes modern Australia, except for those who are at the footy or at the shopping centre. And the space that they were in, the space we find ourselves in, the questions that startle, terrify, create doubts, hold us in the space of disbelieving and leave us wondering, probably hinge on the resurrection. What do you, what do I, what do we believe about the resurrection? And if we do a poll we’ll probably find that there are a few different views. One of the ways to appreciate the different views is to look at any statistical poll. If the question is, ‘How is the world unfolding - is it getting better or is it getting worse?’ then we would have some saying ‘getting better’, we’d have some saying ‘it’s getting worse’. ‘Are we in a period of growth or a period of decay?’ Some would say we’re in a period of growth, some would say we’re in a period of decay. Resurrection – did it happen or didn’t it happen? ‘Oh, it definitely really happened, it was a real event, it did happen’; ‘well no, it’s allegorical, it’s symbolic.’

The perspective that we choose gives us a worldview. Most, if not all of the perspectives that we have, are limited to where we’re looking from. The resurrection introduces and reveals, a new paradigm, a worldview, and it does it very simply – not by changing the 'out there', but changing the place that we look from. The resurrection is an invitation to see beyond death, to see outside, to see through, to see beyond those paradigms that are limited by coming from ourself. In churches throughout what’s still often referred to as Christendom they will be debating the reality of Christ’s resurrection. What a waste of space that is! The resurrection is not an outside event, it’s an intuitive reality that is creative of, and thereby created by, our bearing witness to the Divine that is revealed in us. Those bumper sticker cries of the Church: ‘Jesus lives’, ‘Christ is risen’, an absolute ridiculous echo if they seek to give authority and reality to a past event.

‘Christ is risen’ is a confirming call; ‘Christ is risen’ is a harmony and a chorus that is sung by the creative activity, the divine spirit in, in the leaven in the lump; those who bear witness harmonise with the call of ‘Christ is risen’. They’re not trying to tell others of something that’s happened, they're echoing the divine activity.

Luke goes to great lengths to dispel the ghost story of the empty tomb. We the Church, still debate and write books arguing for and against the Phantom, the ghost who walks. Luke, addressing his flat-earth audience, modern Australia, invites us go beyond: go beyond the phantom appearances, see ourselves beyond death, see ourselves not bound by life. For what is revealed in the Passion is everything, everything: ‘everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms’, and as Luke says, ‘everything must be fulfilled’.

The fulfilment of everything is in the hands of the acts of the apostles.

The Lord be with you.

Peter Humphris

Textweek Easter 3