Rev. Andrew Cunnington
5th April 2015
You’ll Just Have to Get Out and Push

When I was a little boy we used to live just over the road from Mr And Mrs Austin-Cambridge.

That wasn’t actually their name, but that’s what we called them because standing outside their house was this enormous metal box on wheels which was an Austin-Cambridge motor vehicle.

We were not on speaking terms with the Austin Cambridge’s. There were children as well as mum and dad and I was not allowed to play with them.

The problem was their car. Their car would not start properly. Every morning at 7am the whole street would be woken with the sound of Mr Austin Cambridge trying to get it going.

Brrrrwwwoowow! Went the motor and Brrrrrwwwoow, it would go again. Sometimes, after about the tenth try, the car would inexplicably burst into life, with a loud bang and an enormous roar as Mr Austin Cambridge revved the engine up triumphantly. And then kangaroo jumped off down the road.

But on other days, there was no such spark of life and with much slamming of doors and unnecessary calling out, Mrs Austin Cambridge and the little Austin Cambridge’s would be summoned into the street, still in their night time attire, to give the big car a push down the road. I was not permitted to look out of the window at this point, due to the free flowing nature of Mrs Austin Cambridge’s nightie.

The car was an absolute menace and all the residents in Brittany Road longed for the day when this great beast would eventually conk out, or the Austin Cambridge’s decided it was time to move.

It was amazing how long that car kept going without getting a flat battery really and we wondered how Mr Austin Cambridge got the car started for his return journey.

Have you ever been stuck when the only option was that everyone get out and push? Your car stuck in the snow or wheels caught fast in a muddy field. Flat battery caused by leaving the lights on. Your boat or barge run up on dry ground. Come on everyone, we’re going to have to get out and push.

So welcome to the joy of Easter Day! When the women came from the tomb with news that Jesus was alive, it seemed to the men folk that this was just an idle tale. How shall we look for evidence that this is not so?

Well try this. It seems to me that Jesus appeared to people who had got stuck with their lives and looking at them, he had no alternative but to get out and push.

Mary in the garden – don’t just stand there go and tell the others.

The disciples – he’s gone on ahead of you into Galilee, said the angel, you will see him there. Don’t stand staring at the sky!

Peter and the various fishermen – don’t sit their casting your nets for a catch – I have a church to build and I’m using you.

Two friends on the way to Emmaus – seemingly understood nothing of what had really been going on with Jesus – he pushes them away from home, back to Jerusalem, to get cracking with spreading the news.

So today is about asking where we stand and being honest about the situations in our lives where we cannot get moving in our own strength, and need the risen Lord to get beside us and work with us, to push us along.

And then in the many situations in the world where we feel powerless to do anything, the Christian communities of Kenya and Pakistan and Sudan, where today Easter Alleluia’s can only be uttered with caution, but also those many other situations that flood our intercessions week after week, have you ever thought of prayer, as us getting out and pushing alongside God for his struggling people.

This time last year, I spoke about Mission Action Planning and one year on, by various means, prayer, meetings, surveys, interviews, we have arrived at some areas in our church life where maybe we need this risen Christ to get out of his tomb and come and help us to push

To actually galvanise our youth work. Could we work with another parish and share the resources of a trained worker?

To work towards a befriending scheme where more people can be involved in visiting and also know that when the need arises – you will be visited.

To look at the jobs we all do and especially where people have relied on us year after year to carry out certain responsibilities, and so we might feel stuck with them until our dying day.

To use modern communication more effectively. To get your news sheet emailed to you and to reach out into the world of web site, twitter and Facebook.

To attract more people to the fantastic social events we have here. To look at our Family Service and Messy Church provision. To see how we can do more to get people along to church who have no transport.

One thing you can say about St Matthew’s is that we are not an idle parish. That everyone works really hard and that we cannot take on much more that’s new. In fact, we need to make room to be ministered to, that’s what Jesus did before he gave out any fresh commissions.

He dried Mary’s tears. He settled Thomas’s doubts. He sorted out Peter’s feelings. He spent time walking to Emmaus before the disciples realised that they needed to turn round.

So many of the Easter scenes where Jesus meets people, it is as if their lives have been caught in a freeze frame. They are found stood still and stuck.

When I think back, Mr and Mrs Austin Cambridge, never crossed the street and knocked on our door and asked for help. And we never went across to offer help to them, and as I look back, I realise what a pity that was, because in those days, My Father was a car mechanic.

JOHN 20:1-18