Supposing it’s true!!
The General’s Easter message
General John Gowans
If I were to describe Christ as ‘A Chip off the Old Block’ you would probably accuse me of irreverence, but you have to admit that when it comes to describing HIM the best of us is stuck for words. The Christ is so closely, so intimately part of the Creator that spiritually speaking they have the same DNA! Now you assume I am being blasphemous. But the right words are not available and I must use the words I have. The nearest human language can get to describing the Christ in relation to God is probably ‘Offspring’…or ‘Child’…or ‘Son.’ At any rate Jesus of Nazareth said, ‘When you have seen me then to all intents and purposes you have seen the Father,’ which is probably like saying, ‘Like Father like Son.’
Now supposing it’s true!
Does it make any difference if it’s true or not? I think it does. If it’s true then the Being who thought the worlds into existence is no longer distant and detached but has some kind of personality and visits his (or her!) creation. That Being (let me call him God) is ‘knowable.’ At the very least it’s interesting. I don’t suppose that we see all there is of God in one single human being but perhaps in Jesus we can see/perceive all that a human mind can grasp without serious damage. What if it’s true?
Look at Jesus saying a kind word to a prostitute, are we looking at God? Look at him going to stay with a well-known crook when there were perfectly respectable people willing to lodge him. Are we looking at God? Look at him with the kids crawling all over him…shouldn’t God have better things to do? Apparently not. Look at him laughing at a wedding and crying at a funeral, worrying about the hungry, bothering about the poor, the physically and mentally sick, applauding those who struggle to see justice done. Frankly if we are looking at God then he has had a bad press, he’s a great deal better than we thought! If all this is true then we are dealing with a God who cares about all kinds of people. Maybe about me! Presumably he did not have to visit this planet. He is not only knowable but wants to be known. That’s good news! Will you permit me to call it gospel?
But didn’t they kill him? Didn’t they bury him?
I think we can be sure of that. The whole bloody business is carefully reported. Not much room for doubt there. He was goodness personified. He was generosity incarnated. He was compassion in flesh and blood. He was crucified wholesomeness. He died a very unpleasant death, which we wouldn’t give to a dog, and then they buried him. But he walked out of his borrowed tomb! Did the people who borrowed his tomb for him know in advance that he would not need it for long? I doubt it. According to the record they were rather surprised. You can’t believe all that?
A lot of people didn’t even want to believe it but…supposing it was true? Does it make any difference?
I think it makes a very great deal of difference. You see if he did walk out of his tomb then goodness and compassion, generosity and honesty, wholesomeness and tolerance, beauty of the deepest kind are all uncrushable, indestructible, invincible. They win. The hungry, the marginalized and the damaged will still go on mattering and the struggle for justice goes on! This is what the Christians celebrate every Sunday morning and frankly I think it’s worth singing about. ‘Up from the grave he arose!’ Brilliant!
It seems that God wants to tell us that we should not bother to waste our time trying to bury him. He goes on!
There have been many attempts to liquidate him, terminate him, abolish him. But his survival does not even depend upon the reliability of his believers. They are often unreliable. The winter frosts of his church have been many but his springtimes have proved inevitable. He survives man’s unbelief. He is always resurrecting. He says: ‘Look, I’m with you always.’ Supposing that it’s true!
Millions of people have timorously believed him. They have reached out to the God they glimpsed in his Christ and who says that he will never abandon humanity. They have been gloriously surprised. They discovered that he is with them always. They were afraid of looking ridiculous. They were scared of being disappointed. But they reached out and found him to be nearer than breathing and closer than hands and feet. This ‘reaching out’ is not a physical thing. Human hands do not find divine fingers.
But the spiritual person encounters the spiritual God though prayer and life is never quite the same. The Father is found to be Our Father, My Father. It isn’t supposing any more. It is real relationship, real communion, transforming friendship.
‘Everyone who seeks finds,’ says the Christ.
Supposing it’s true?