Second Sunday of Easter - 23rd April, 2017
Liturgical ReflectionMark 16:9-15
“Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” An inspiring challenge to the eleven surviving disciples, whose dinner and despair had been disrupted by the sudden appearance of their risen Lord. Especially given Christ’s assurance, a bit later in chapter 16, that believers would be able to hold snakes in their hands, the eleven presumably set off with a certain confidence, a certain élan….
Two thousand years later, the faith is no longer young. Most of the world has probably already heard about it, if only as a matter of general education, and we do not expect any exemptions from natural phenomena such as snakebite just because we happen to believe. Where is our élan to come from? What is “good news” for today?
A brief moment of liturgical reform at my Anglican high school in the 1960s had us singing “Your holy hearsay is not evidence; give me the good news in the present tense” and “So shut the Bible up and show me how / This Christ you talk about is living now”—lyrics that the internet informs me are to be attributed to Sydney Carter.
“Good news? What good news?” Sometimes it seems that there is only bad news. At a meeting in Monday of Holy Week I heard of riot police coming at night, recently, to an Aboriginal home to remove the children. These children will join more than 6,000 Aboriginal children who are in out-of-home care in New South Wales at this time. Why this number? Concerns about the danger of government agencies stealing yet another generation are exacerbated by new changes to the Child Protection Act. These will substitute accelerated adoption procedures for investment in support for at-risk families.
That thousands of people turned out on a wet, cold Palm Sunday to protest about the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers is one sign that Christ is living now. That Aboriginal grandmothers are standing up to protect their grandchildren, and that word of the new threats to Aboriginal families is getting out and shocking people, is another.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news.