At the Busselton foreshore I watched my four grandchildren spread over the playground in the shape of a shipwreck. They laughed as they climbed through rigging and tunnels to the crow’s nest. They squealed with delight as a slide and a ‘fireman’s pole’ brought them down in a rush of speed. They rollicked in sand; they splashed in water. The kids shouted with joy, their imaginations and bodies nourished by the playground’s brilliant design.
I look forward to the time post-Covid-19 when they may return to the ship playground.
The youngest kids, I am sure, believe that this ship was created just for them. As they grow, they will realise that the playground was built, not just for them, but for all kids who visit the foreshore, even those they don’t like! Soon enough, they will recognise that the City of Busselton, who provided the ship, provides roads and libraries and dog pounds for everyone.
Sitting there on the edge of the playground, I realise that it is all about the kids, but it is also about something much bigger: how we work together to build a community.
Today is the seventh, and last, Sunday in the Easter season when we cry, ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen!’ Our Gospel readings during the Easter season have so far traced the benefits of the resurrection for humanity and creation:
* we don’t need to be perfect to receive resurrection benefits,
* the risen Good Shepherd cares for us and provides for us,
* the Spirit of the risen Jesus comes to us as an Advocate, companion, and guide on the way.
The keyword for this Sunday is ‘glory’. Easter reveals God’s glory, and ‘we are blessed because that spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God is resting on us.’ [1 Peter 4:14].
If we were children, we might conclude that Easter is all about the godsends provided for human beings by the resurrection. It’s a gift of hope for us; it’s for us to receive eternal life; it’s for us to delight in the community of the faithful. If we were children, it would be quite in order to believe that Easter is all about us.
But we are not children and the good news of Easter is not only about us creatures. Easter is first about God and God’s work in creating a stunningly beautiful universe and blessing it as a resurrection gift for the ages to come. The glory is God’s.
We can get the order wrong. If we put humanity first, then the shadow side of humanity including our cruelty, our negligence, our selfishness can have its full impact and we war with each other and degrade the rest of creation. If we think it is all about human beings, we reap the sinful self-centredness we sow.
What Jesus teaches in today’s Gospel is that he shares in God’s glory because he, Jesus, did God’s will. The disciples – including us – share in the glory of Jesus when we put God first.