15 April 2010

Meditation: "Easter Fools"

"Why do you look for the living among the dead?" --Luke 24:5

"God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength." --1 Corinthians 1:25

"I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings." --William Sloane Coffin


Dear Friends,

My experience of Holy Week (just a couple of weeks ago!) this year was similar to past years. It was a very busy week--I preached four times in eight days--and as Easter Sunday approached, I felt so tired and run-down, I wondered if Easter morning really would feel for me like a celebration of new life made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And as in past years, despite my own fatigue and what feels like spiritual poverty, Easter Sunday morning energized me and filled me with joy and hope and gratitude and LIFE. God is good!

The week following Easter, I came across a thread of comments posted in response to a newspaper story about recent scholarship on the resurrection. About 2/3 of the comments were dismissive and even downright disparaging of Christians who would find deep meaning in celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The comments ranged from mild--"Easter is really a pagan celebration co-opted by Christians"--to caustic--"Christians who believe in the resurrection are out of touch with reality and delusional."

My first reaction was, honestly, to become defensive. But upon further reflection, I realized that those who would question the validity of the Easter message of life rising out of death--well, they have a point. Listen to the news and read the paper and the stories have little to do with life and much to do with death--war, violence, crime, abuse, disaster. When we take a clear-eyed look around the world, we have to admit that it is much easier to identify those places where death appears to carry the day.

But this is where I can't help but choose to believe something that appears to be foolish to those who cannot bring themselves to believe it. I suppose I am an Easter Fool. For I choose to believe that death does not and will not have the final word. I choose to believe that those places where I've seen new life arise out of the ashes of death are not the exception, but glimpses of the Good News that "He is risen indeed!" And not only do I choose to believe it, but I choose to do my best to LIVE it, too, by not giving up on lost causes, by seeking to find the light of God within people whose actions are detestable, by praying fervently for peace and justice to come to even the most hopeless of situations.

This is what "Easter Fools" do. They affirm, with their lips and lives, that no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, Jesus Christ is ALIVE and because he is alive, we are, too.

How about you? Are you an Easter Fool? It isn't always easy to be the fool, but in my experience, this kind of foolishness is a wellspring of hope and love and LIFE!

And that is an awesome gift to celebrate during this season of Easter.

Prayer: God of New Life in Christ, thank you, thank you, thank you for the Good News that Jesus is risen! Grant us the courage to be Easter Fools, embracing and nurturing LIFE wherever and whenever we have the opportunity, all in your name. Amen.

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