Are you ready to have your life changed completely around? Most of us would want things to change in our lives, but we are not really prepared to do anything about it. The status quo is okay for now, though we know differently.
We look around our world and we know, deep in our hearts, that things have to change, but how? It begins with you and me. Are you ready?
It started last week when a parade took place in Jerusalem. It wasn’t much of a parade. There were no marching bands, no banners, no floats, just people waving palm branches, as a fellow rode by, on a donkey. It was almost humourous, except for what the people were shouting: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”
To the occupying Romans, this was seditious. It challenged their power. Jerusalem was a powder-keg already with its population tripling because of the Passover Festival. The Pharisees and Romans sent out their spies to keep a careful eye on this fellow, Jesus. Fearing arrest, Jesus and his friends met in a locked room on this very day, Thursday and shared their last meal, together. Again, nothing unusual about what they ate, but it was what was said that changed things. With Jesus’ words, this meal took on new meaning that would become crystal clear, later on. “I am the bread. The wine is my blood. Do this in remembrance of me.”
On this Thursday, a new word takes over their lives, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Was the world ready for this? Is our world ready for this? Apparently not. Jesus is betrayed, has a mock trial and is scourged. The strips of the whip had bone woven into every strand, so that it dug deeply into Jesus’ flesh and tore it open. Blood flows. His friends remember the meal where they tore apart bread and drank red wine. Jesus confounds the autocratic powers when Pilate asks, “What is truth?” Truth hung on a cross in the hot sun while friends deserted and denied knowing him. Were they ready? Are we ready? This is love?
With his dying breath, Jesus cries out to God, “Forgive them.” He died. Unlikely friends bury him. It is over. Back to our mundane lives. Then it happens. Were they ready for this? Are you ready for this? The tomb is empty. He is alive!
His friends remember the Thursday meal. They remember his life given for them. They remember seeing him alive after death. Their lives radically change. Are they ready for what will come next? Are you ready for what will come next? The world is about to change because friends remembered and did something radical. They lived the life of the Beatitudes. Love changed their lives, forever.
Are you ready for your lives to be changed? It will mean the dying of our old ways of life. It will mean confronting the powers of the day. It will mean loving one another, indiscriminately.
This Sunday, our churches will swell, but will the people who come be ready for a change in their lives? Love them, as Christ loves you and watch as the Spirit changes a life. Rejoice at what God can do!
Are you ready? Hallelujah! He is risen! And so, are you. May God bless you all.
Doug Pilsworth is a retired United Church minister.