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Sunday, 20 April 2014


Today, I saw a sign that said, "Happy Easter! Be safe, enjoy." Some people would say that the second sentence there is somewhat oxymoronical - it contradicts itself. If you make everything too safe, how can you have fun? There are, of course , always things like reading and chess, but they don't seem to be enough for everybody. 

And yet, we do this a lot with our Christianity - and we have particularly done this with Jesus. We make him into this joyous, always happy, laughing, peaceful, loving, really nice guy who was the perfect gentleman. And some of that is certainly true, and to say he is not loving or joyous would be just ridiculous. But these things are not all he was. 

Jesus was not safe. When you hear about him driving the people from the Temple courtyard - I think some versions say with whips - does that sound safe? There is a righteous anger in this man, there is danger. He would often heat it up with the Pharisees as well, of course, his regular sparring partners; over the course of the Gospels, he calls them whitewashed tombs and a brood of snakes; there are a few others as well, but they're just a couple of the better ones. These weren't safe words, or the actions of a safe man - these were dangerous words and actions from a dangerous man; so dangerous that the Pharisees plotted to kill him. 

And the Easter story is the least safe of all. We surround it with chocolate, and eggs, and bunnies - but he was whipped. Beaten. A crown of thorns pressed into his head. Then he had to carry the cross - which was pretty sturdy stuff, it weren't no balsa wood - while still bleeding and having those open wounds. They forced massive nails through each hand, and a bigger one through both his feet. And then made him hang by them, hang off the holes in his hands and feet. The cross wasn't safe. 

And there were people there shouting at him - taunting him, saying, if you are who you say you are, then come down; save yourself! And we can't know exactly what he was thinking; but I wonder if it was tempting. The thought of just healing himself, coming down off the cross - ending the pain. But he didn't. Right until the end, Jesus didn't play it safe. He didn't just take the easy path. 

So often in our lives, we'll play it safe. We live safe lives; we hide away our troubles and problems and pain, because that's easier. We don't have to worry about it now, and if we hide it, then no one else has to, either. So we act. We hide. We play safe. 

But Jesus didn't just die - he rose again. He came back to life, he conquered death. He was reborn, and showed us that we, too, can be reborn in him, and have new life. Not a safe life. Not an easy life. But real life, full life, the way it was meant to be.

I'm dangerous. Not to you, but to the Enemy, I am dangerous. Because I am living life to the full. Are you dangerous? Are you living life to the full?

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