John 20:1-18; Acts 10: 34-43
Karl Fisch, a teacher at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, was asked a number of years ago to put together a power point presentation about technology and its impact on education. The power point presentation, “Called Did You Know?” has since become a stalwart presence on Youtube down through the years, viewed by millions of people.
Did you know that we are living in exponential times? Did you know that the number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet? Did you know there are 31 billion searches on Google every month?
Did you know that Facebook has 840,000,000 active users? If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s third largest, following China and India?
Did you know that 4 exabytes (4 times 10 to the 19th power) of unique new information will be generated world wide this year, estimated to be more information than the previous 5,000 years collectively?
Did you know that India has honor students than the combined total of all the students in the United States? We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. We are living in exponential change.
Whether or not Mr. Fisch’s data holds up under close scrutiny, there is no question that the rate of change in modern life, the rate of accumulation of new information, the technological advances that are happening in our lifetime are just staggering. No wonder we experience a psychological whiplash adjusting to all the new advances that are introduced.
Change happens. Easter is a celebration of exponential change. It is the celebration and acknowledgement of exponential spiritual change. Jesus experienced more change in a week than most people endure in a lifetime. He was praised and everyone’s darling last Palm Sunday. He was plotted and confronted against most of the week. He was betrayed, abandoned, rejected, scorned, subjected to a kangaroo court, tortured and crucified, and laid in a cold, borrowed tomb. And then he was raised up by God that Easter Sunday. Exponential change was born.
Easter reminds us that life is about exponential change. Our lives may not take on the dramatic turns in a matter of days like Jesus took. But exponential change happens to us nonetheless. It is said that our entire body of cells change completely in the course of seven years. We may look more or less the same, but physically we are different people. Hopefully during this time that our bodies are changing we are also changing spiritually. Hopefully we are becoming, as technology at its best leads us to be, more connected. More connected to the Holy Spirit, the author of change. More connected to each other. More connected to the world. Easter reminds us of the exponential power of love to transform our lives through the resurrected power of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Most of the time it is hard to deal with change. We struggle with it. We are like Mary Magdalene in the Easter story. We emerge from the darkness, stand at the open tomb and weep. Mary is a witness to the traumatic beating and brutal death Jesus endured. Her memories lead her to the wrong conclusion when she sees the empty tomb and empty linen wrappings. She believes Jesus’ body has been stolen. She can’t fathom the exponential change has occurred. She is asked not once but twice, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Exponential change stands before her and she can’t comprehend it. Finally, Jesus speaks her name. Mary! Suddenly grace breaks through. Mary’s heart turns from sorrow to joy. Her spirit turns from doubt to faith. Her tears turn into gladness. Her soul is raised up as she exclaims “Teacher!!” She seeks out the disciples and exclaims, “I have seen the Lord!” She becomes known throughout history, as the “apostle to the apostles.”
Exponential change, that is what it is. We live in a time of exponential change and extraordinary challenge. The Resurrection calls us to an exponential change in consciousness that exceeds the exponential change in technology we experience in current times. It is an exponential, resurrection change that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as moving from self-centered to other-centered consciousness. Every time we choose to help someone in need – every time we step beyond our comfort zone – we become the change.
The apostle Peter, an observant Jew, demonstrates the change in our reading from Acts. Peter had witnessed the Holy Spirit poured out on gentiles, the Holy Spirit led a Roman army captain named Cornelius to accept Jesus as Lord. His heart changed as he came see that God shows no partiality. Peter changed as he saw God’s love is for all people. So, Peter did not demand the non-Jews to first convert to Judaism in order to follow Jesus. As a result, Christianity took a different path. It became an exponential movement.
Easter is about exponential change. A profound change in the soul that raises up resurrection consciousness. It happens when people reach out, love, care, make a difference, act faithfully, positively, live out the Good News, when we proclaim the exponential power of Jesus as Risen Lord.
Last Palm Sunday Pope Francis replied to young people calling for a more authentic and transparent church. This was on the heels to all the youth rallies in the United States and around the world. The Pope said use your exponential power for the good! "you have it in you to shout," even if "we older people and leaders, very often corrupt, keep quiet."
So Holy Week began with exponential voices of children and youth. 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, survivors of the Parkland school shootings, remembered slain classmates. Zion Kelly, 16, who wept for his slain twin brother Zaire Kelly, gunned down coming home from a College prep class in Washington D.C. There was 11-year-old activist Naomi Wadler who remembered 17-year-old Courtlin Arrlington, with dreams of nursing, shot dead one week before the Parkland, FL shootings. There was 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who called her generation to rise up to be a great nation. She echoes the prophet Isaiah who reminds us: “a little child shall lead them.”
These voices give us a glimpse. What if we were to unleash the exponential power of love? Love, raised up to 4 x 10 to the 19th power? What if we learned and practiced the exponential power of love as avidly as we developed technology? What if we unearthed the exponential language of healing, of hope and reconciliation wrapped in the power of the resurrection?
Love greater than Google, that searches and seeks 31 billion plus times a day the lost? Love that creates billions of bits of grace and blessings every day -- more than all the tweets sent and received. New ways to be loving in more unique encounters than the 4 exabytes of unique information? Love raised up to be the greatest nation on earth, the most widely spoken language on earth, the most powerful technology on earth? This is the Easter vision of Jesus.
Did you that you are not a statistic? Your life matters. Do not keep quiet. You have it in you to shout it out! Christ is Risen!
Did you know that we can be the change that world needs for resurrection consciousness to break through? Did you know that we are called to raise up love, to the highest exponential degree possible? Christ is Risen!
So, go and let us create the technology of exponential love, a love just beginning, a vision that hasn’t yet been realized, so that someday our world will make that great spiritual leap with the Holy Spirit. Exponential change is happening, love raises us up, as we proclaim, “We have seen the Lord!” Christ is risen! He is Risen indeed! Aleluia! Amen