The never-ending story
By the Rev. Jan Johnson
Send a link to a friend
[April 15, 2014]
A few years ago there was a
children's film out called "The NeverEnding Story." Many of you have
probably seen it and the sequels to it as well. In that story there
was a problem in Fantasia. The problem was the "Nothing" and it was
destroying Fantasia. The Nothing was depicted with dark rolling
clouds moving steadily over the earth and sky. No place was safe
from the Nothing. As the darkness and gloom seeped into a place, it
broke up the ground and caused buildings to crack and collapse. The
source of the Nothing was the lack of belief, lack of faith, if you
will, among the people of the earth. Because of that lack of faith,
Fantasia was being destroyed.
Much of the same can be said about the Nothing right here in our
midst. Only in 2014, the Nothing is not a smoky cloud created by dry
ice and special effects by MGM. The Nothing is the apathy in our
world toward almost everything. The Nothing is like a giant
depression that has settled over us and blankets us in denial and
shame and anger. The Nothing stops at nothing to destroy our faith,
our joy, our values and the love of God.
The Nothing began way back in creation when the snake tempted Eve
and she ate of the Tree of Knowledge, which she and Adam had been
forbidden to eat from. The Nothing tried to oppress the Israelite
slaves in Egypt, but Moses overcame it. The Nothing tried to
undermine David's reign as king of Israel when David met Bathsheba,
but David's faith in God faced the Nothing, and God's love for David
overcame it. And in Jesus' time? Well, the Nothing was there too.
The Nothing was there when Pilate washed his hands of Jesus.
Pilate didn't want to kill Jesus, didn't want any part of it. The
Nothing was there when Mary watched in desperation and anguish as
her son was crucified as a criminal. As she cried out her pain, the
world was breaking up around her — her world was collapsing as her
son died. The Nothing was there when Jesus stood before Herod and
was mocked and questioned by him, taunted by him to do some miracle,
dressed up by him and sent back to Pilate.
The Nothing was there when John, Son of Thunder, tried to stop
another man from doing a miracle in Jesus name. And when John asked
for a place on the right hand of Jesus in glory. The Nothing was
there when Peter, the Rock, denied knowing Christ, three times. It
was there when he and John and James fell asleep while Jesus prayed
that His LIFE be spared. The Nothing was there when the crowd cried
for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus, who was innocent.
[to top of second column]
The Nothing was there when Caiaphas, the high priest, plotted
to have Jesus killed, when he and the chief priests framed Jesus
because He threatened their comfortable way of faith and life
Today the Nothing still exists. When Hindus fight Shintus, the
Nothing is there. Where hatred and violence reigns, the Nothing is
there. When people meet to decide for war, the Nothing is there.
Where sickness and disease exist is epidemic proportion, the Nothing
is there. When wrong becomes right, the Nothing is there. Where
Christians look the other way, allowing pain and suffering of our
brothers and sisters to continue, the Nothing is there. The Nothing
is in Central America and Africa, in Afghanistan and Romania, in
Korea and in Germany, in Iran and yes, in these United States. BUT…
Jesus Christ's resurrection crushes the Nothing and changes it
into "Something" of worth. All of the Nothing forces in the world
cannot stand against THIS never-ending story. For the resurrection
story is a continuing story of birth, death and rebirth. It is a
creation story over and over again. It is the story of saving grace
and infinite love. It is the story of a love so powerful that it
breaks the bonds of death itself and brings new life.
Read the story. Talk to a pastor. Attend worship. Find the
Nothing in your life and let Christ's resurrection restore your life
to Something through God's love.
In Easter joy!
[By the Rev. JAN JOHNSON, St. John
United Church of Christ]