Year B Easter 3 Luke 24 2012
See My Hands and My Feet
Luke 24:35-48

Tolstoy once told a story of a Czar and Czarina who wished to honor the members of their court with a banquet. They sent out invitations and requested that the guests come with the invitations in their hands. When they arrived at the banquet the guests were surprised to discover that the guards did not look at their invitations at all. Instead they examined their hands. The guests wondered about this, but they were also curious to see who the Czar and Czarina would choose as the guest of honor to sit between them at the banquet. They were flabbergasted to see that it was the old scrub woman who had worked to keep the palace clean for years. The guards, having examined her hands, declared, "You have the proper credentials to be the guest of honor. We can see your love and loyalty in your hands."

A similar story is told of the great missionary to Burma, Adoniram Judson. Judson went to the King of Burma to ask him if he might have permission to go to a certain city to preach. The King, a pagan, but quite an intelligent man responded, "I'm willing for a dozen preachers to go but not you, not with those hands. My people are not such fools as to take notice of your preaching but they will note those calloused, work scarred hands."

After his crucifixion, the disciples of Jesus were trying to sort out the meaning of the reports they had been receiving about appearances of the risen Christ. It was most confusing to them. Was it a hoax? They were not completely immune to superstition. Perhaps it was some kind of ghost. Suddenly it happened. Jesus himself stood among them. The disciples were startled and frightened. Then Jesus said to them, "Why are you troubled and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself..." The response of the disciples is a sermon in itself. Luke tells us that they "disbelieved for joy..." It was simply too wonderful to be true. He was alive and he was with them right there. No wonder they had difficulty believing. Some persons still have that problem today. Many desperately want to believe but something holds them back. "See my hands and my feet..."

  1. It Is Difficult to Believe God Cares That Much.
  2. It Is Difficult to Believe Life Goes on Beyond the Tomb.
  3. We Have Trouble Processing the Implications of These Two Truths.

Red, White and Pink
Luke 24:36 48

Have you done time in the “pink aisle”?

If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. It’s that entire section in Target or Toys’R’Us or wherever you shop, that glows with a Pepto-Bismol-bright pink haze. The corridor you trundle your shopping cart down is awash in pinks . . .

there is Barbie and all her accessories,
there are dolls of lesser nobility and parentage,
there are fingerpaints, Frisbees, ...

Whatever sits on those shelves, they all give off a ghastly pink glow. Stores really should provide special protective eyeshades to their shoppers before letting them venture down those dreaded “pink zones.”

The problem with the “pink aisle” isn’t really its color (although, let’s face it, YES it is!) The problem with the “pink aisle” is that somewhere along the line some marketing executive determined that all the “girl stuff” would be relegated to a “pink zone” and branded with that awful shade of pink.

What had been a sweet “pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys” baby-shower tradition has become a hide bound marketing mantra. Pink is a pre requisite for marketing success. Pink is an absolute requirement. Pink is the dictator of what is acceptable for selling to a certain segment of the economy.

In short, pink is no longer a color. Pink is now a religion. Individuality and the rainbow of color possibilities are martyred to the iron law of “pink.”

Unfortunately, what happens in the toy store doesn’t stay in the toy store. What happens in the “pink aisle” doesn’t stay in the “pink aisle.” The dictates of convention and conformity, of cultural expectations and day to day demands, forces all of us to “put on the pink” if we want to get along, go along, and get ahead. We become human pack animals. We live lemming lives.

Bring together a group of five-year-olds and ask how many of them sing. Every hand will go up. Bring the same group together when they’re twelve, and ask how many of them sing. One hand will go up, the young “professional” singer and performer. What happens between five years of age and twelve that our children lose their song, the one-of-a-kind, unrepeatable, irreplaceable song God made them to be?

Teenagers are those most actively struggling to find their own identity. They invest huge amounts of psychic energy breaking free from authority figures and childhood expectations. They struggle to be completely “themselves.” So why do they end up looking alike?

The power of ruling “cliques” and the yearning for popularity and acceptance end up homogenizing all but the most daring. I remember as a teenager thinking----I might not be doing what I’d really like to do, but at least I’m not doing what is expected of me either. I remember the day when I realized I was conforming, but to a kind of “conformity” that was driving my parents crazy.

And this is not something that just goes on when we are kids. Moms and Dads “martyr” themselves to their children’s lives and needs. Too many career professionals martyr free time and family time to rungs on a corporate ladder. Athletes martyr their bodies and their health to gain one more goal, eke out one last season, make one final shot. Musicians martyr their creativity and muse to a contract and record label.

As we take on college, careers, families, relationships, and responsibilities we increasingly all become “martyrs” — we sacrifice our dreams; we don’t take “the road less taken;” we martyr our uniqueness to live predictable, conventional, acceptable versions of our lives. We martyr our energy to collecting baubles and trinkets. We martyr our originality to the pink aisles of consumer culture and celebrity worship... presents Leonard Sweet