A change of heart
This Saturday marks the start of the ACT Junior Rugby Union Competition. Over the past six weeks, Radford parent Nick Leah, Tim Robards and I have been preparing the Under 18 side for this upcoming season. The boys, a mixture of long-time players and some who are new to Rugby, have been working on ‘changing habits’ when performing their skills, with the potential of having a greater and more positive impact during games. The changing of their habits is primarily about enhancing their body position to provide them with more options when performing a certain skill. For instance, where there was one possible option when attempting to pass a ball, there are now three. It has been interesting to watch the boys all beginning with seeing only one possibility on how they could play, and now moving towards seeing the potential for taking most positive of a number of options.
Similarly, through his death and resurrection, Jesus provides us with the opportunity to change our hearts. The Bible passages that describe his resurrection appearances to his followers (for example read John 20.1-31) begin with each of Jesus followers and disciples grieving at witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion. They are confused by the events that occurred during that past week. Jesus celebrated entry into Jerusalem, and the expectant freedom from the tyranny of the Roman occupation had turned into a time filled with fear and despair. The loss of the hope they felt, now Jesus was dead, must have been palpable. In the darkness of their broken hearts, in their disappointment and fear, the disciples only see one option and lock themselves in the upper room, afraid of being found by the Jewish religious political leaders who were searching for Jesus’ co-conspirators.
As Jesus appears to each of his followers - Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, and the disciples locked away in the upper room - their sadness, fear, despair and darkness is replaced with a sense of joy and of hope, restored and renewed. Jesus’ presence and words of peace change their hearts, so they are no longer afraid, and their faith is strengthened. They no longer have one option. Jesus empowers his disciples to go and share his story, to provide others with the hope they now enjoy.
May you be filled with the renewed hope that the Easter season brings.
Rugby footnote: if you’d like to come along and see the 1st XV rugby side play, they kick off their season on the JA Mackinnon Oval this Saturday at 12:30pm, straight after the new Under 14s team plays at 11:30 pm.