The Fourth Sunday of Easter

The interconnectedness of things today –and of life –can take my breath away. Last Sunday morning I drove down to BBC Radio Essex to give the Reflection –a 3 minute one-take, live, try-and-make-no-mistakes reading which is topical in terms of the latest news and reflective in terms of religion (without ‘bagging’ other religions or points of view).

When I got up I found a photo on my phone on our Family WhatsApp from my son in Tasmania–the only per-son on a lovely beach scene. The blue of the sky and the water was stunning and he mentioned he was going in but that it was cold. When I arrived at the station I took a selfie of me with the caption ‘Different sort of waves for me this morning, Jonathan’. I went in, chatted to folk, gave the presentation, got another date to return and by the time I was back in the car –30 minutes –there was another message ‘I listened to you, Dad’. And that’s when I went ‘Wow!’. BBC Radio Essex was heard on the north-west tip of Tasmania –pretty much half a world away! This communication technology is amazing! (But not without its own issues and need for wisdom.)

And then popped into my head some lines from Jesus Christ Superstar (yes, I saw several Sydney performances a long time ago). Judas (well, his ghost) sings in the song ‘Superstar’ …

Every time I look at you I don’t understand
Why you let the things you did get so out of hand
You’d have managed better if you’d had it planned
Why’d you choose such a backward time in such a strange land?
If you’d come today you could have reached a whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication
Don’t you get me wrong
I only want to know
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ Superstar Do you think you’re what they say you are?

Lyrics: Tim Rice ‘Superstar’ from Jesus Christ Superstar, 1969

It is an interesting thought that if Jesus had delayed his arrival until around 1980 then after his execution there could be quickly on the scene the media to beam around the world … and that’s the big question … what? It’d have to be the empty tomb and then all those people willing to give interviews, send tweets or post on Instagram their version of what happened. Would Jesus give a worldwide interview? I wonder who would believe him. There is a world of difference it seems to me broadcasting news around the world and broadcasting truth around the world. I’m not suggesting news and truth do not overlap but I am suggesting that one seeks more to inform and the other seeks a deeper commitment. Perhaps the best protection against fake news is personal communication when we use all our senses and all our critical thinking to assess what we are being told face to face and by whom.

That there even was a show called Jesus Christ Superstar shows that Jesus isn’t going away! It is simply strange that more and more people today do not regard Jesus as fake news but choose to follow him –but then the Holy Spirit does work quietly and the truth doesn’t change –Christ is risen!