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Fake News? (April 2018)

Dear Friends,  

Easter day coincides with April Fool’s day this year.

Both days full of tradition, ‘unbelievable’ stories and the challenge of seeking out and finding what is trustworthy, good and true!

The world we live in at the moment seems to have many layers of trouble with working out which stories are trustworthy, good and true.

While we might marvel at the way ‘fake news’ is an accusation thrown around by those who want you to believe them and not their opponents or critics, we would be fools if we believed that the vast opportunities of the many channels of communication available to us today are not sometimes being used to manipulate the way we see the world and the things we believe true within it.

The ways you tell a story will influence the things people hear and understand. And the things people hear in your story telling will shape the ways they can put together what they believe and how they will live in response.

We are, often, right to be suspicious, cautious and unafraid to ask questions and look for evidence.

One of the things I love most about the stories we tell on Easter Sunday is how inconclusive and varied they are. How they suggest the enormity of what had happened – an empty tomb, frightened friends of Jesus some of whom reported seeing him, others not, some remembering angels and instructions given in words, while others telling of deeply personal conversations in which even their name was spoken by the voice of Jesus they knew so well. And how the stories keep on coming – first the resurrection happens in the early morning, then further encounters with the risen Jesus later on the same day, in the evening, then a week later and the rather vague ‘after these things ….’ at the end of Johns gospel.

It’s as if this incredible event of resurrection, so strange to the natural and known order of things, was explored, unfolded, questioned with great curiosity, tested for authenticity, by the earliest followers of Jesus. And as they tell their stories to one another – ‘well, we saw him when we walked along the road’ – ‘we met him in the garden’ – ‘when we broke bread with a stranger’ – ‘when we sat together, hidden, fearful and perplexed’ – ‘when we went fishing’ – they begin to believe and grow in the confidence that his shattering death was not the end, that Jesus was alive among them, and what had felt like the end had given way to an overwhelming sense of new beginning, new life.

As the list of witnesses grows, testing out their stories with one another, they move from not knowing what on earth is happening, towards being a community of people who have grasped a deep and lasting truth and will live by it.

And of course, we as people of Christian faith, are both inheritors of that story faithfully explored and told AND we are the people who in this generation are called to wrestle with what it means to share the good news of resurrection, Jesus alive among us, with the world today.

God brings life into even the most lost and broken places.

Renewal, rebirth, resurrection is the story God tells us in Jesus and offers us for our living in the world.

The world might think is ‘fools’ for telling such a story but we can be sure it is a tried and tested, from it’s very beginning, and we, like those who have gone before us, trust it to be true.