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Easter Four - The Rejected has become the Cornerstone

“This Jesus, the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, it has become the cornerstone”, says Peter to the religious leaders who are interrogating him after he has healed a person in the name of Jesus. (Easter Four. Acts 4.5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; and John 10:11-18.) Sometimes it is good to remember that we seek to follow the rejected one and that if we align with him we may find ourselves with different priorities and powers to many in our world.

I have reflected on Jesus as the Rejected and Resurrected one before and you may like to read that first.


Or you may wish to consider a reflection on Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18).

 


We begin with Peter accusing others of having rejected Jesus but at some point do we need to pause and ask Peter (and therefore ourselves too) ‘But wait, didn’t you very recently deny even knowing Jesus and thereby reject him too?’ For many of us it is not simply that there was a time before we accepted Jesus as Lord, teacher, saviour it is that there are aspects of who Jesus is that we were unable to see or accept and may still be struggling to understand. If we consider Jesus as the Rejected and Resurrected One then suddenly Jesus is among, one of even, the marginalised and dubious ones in society. All the people and places we feel uncomfortable, even if sorry for, are likely to be the places and people among whom Jesus is at home. Not that we are to romanticise suffering and exclusion but maybe we need to remember that Jesus cannot be contained by our expectations and desire that he stay in the “theological box” where we have defined him. I’m not sure Jesus has the same sense of division between sacred and secular, proper and improper, desireable and undesirable, as we do. Indeed if Jesus was prepared to be rejected and struck for our sake then he is unlikely to abhor the homes or hearts of those we are merely suspicious of, the activities we merely think frivolous or dangerous, the cases we think sad but lost. With trepidation I need to entertain that Jesus might be very at home in places I avoid.

 

Which is related to the question what might I be rejecting (and therefore missing out on) about others, or overlooking in others, that Jesus would value and reach out to? Jesus asked some curious folk to be his disciples during life and shortly after his ascension! Think of Peter, Judas, Matthew, Martha, Mary, and later Saul! And Jesus saw in women and men, named and unnamed, great value and healed them, affirmed them, challenged them to be well, to be whole, and to bring good news to others.

 

And closer to home what may we be rejecting within and about ourselves that we assume is wrong or just not of value that may indeed be the very quality, spark, enthusiasm that is the making or breaking-open of us that will lead to our flourishing and faithfulness? What do we reject in us that Jesus may treasure?

 

And why do any of these questions and ponderings matter? Well only because if we are praying and working toward God’s kingdom being established here on earth then we need to be sure that we are following God’s priorities not our own and the life of Jesus made those priorities clearly not always the same as mainstream religious and societal expectations. And if we are called to proclaim and to heal in the name of Jesus then we need to attend to those who Jesus would have attended to not only those who are most like us. And if we are to grow in the likeness of Jesus the Christ then we need to allow the spirit to inflame and fan whichever unlikely spark the spirit alights upon!

 

To be a follower of the Rejected and Resurrected One is not merely to become a good and nice person but one who is fully and abundantly alive and who will serve and praise with all our talents and desires, our hopes and our questions, with our all so that all might hear the good news that they are included.

Even so, come Lord Jesus Christ, the Rejected and Resurrected One, come gather us in.

 

 

 

 

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