This past weekend was a rare event where both Easter and April Fool’s fall on the same day. This happens approximately every 67 years – so it will happen once in my life time. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Here is my sermon from this past Sunday :
If you don’t believe in the resurrection you are a fool.
Easter fools – that is what the apostle Paul wants us to be – fools for Easter.
The whole thing kind of reminds me of a story about a Slovenian philosopher. He was a well known intellectual and an avowed atheist. His friend came to visit him at his cottage in the country and was disturbed when he arrived to see that this philosopher had a ‘lucky’ horseshoe above the doorway to the cottage.
After a while his friend couldn’t hide it anymore and finally said “I am so disappointed in you – you are a man of reason and intelligence – how can you have this superstitious charm hanging above your doorway for luck?”
The philosopher was quick to calm his friend and said,
“no, no, it’s ok. Of course I don’t believe in that … but I have been assured that works whether you believe in it or not.”
That seems to me to be a great approach to Easter. It works whether you believe in it or not – Easter fools.
One of my favorite thinkers lived through WWII in Germany and he came up with this idea that I absolutely love. You don’t need to remember this unless you want to impress people at a cocktail party (or at dinner later this afternoon). It is called the Ontological Priority of the Future and it basically says: whatever turns out to be true in the end will have been true the entire time whether we knew it or not … whether we believed in it or not.
Like gravity it acts upon us before we are aware of it or understand it. It has its pull on us.
We live in a day when people have reduced faith and belief into these little pithy sayings that can be dismissed or explained away.
Just try talking about heaven and watch people eye-roll so hard they are in danger of injuring themselves or twitching so hard that might pull a muscle.
But if the afterlife turns out to be true – that there is existence on the other side of this life – some of you are going to be really surprised! (or disappointed). You will be like the person who wakes up tomorrow in Hawaii and thinks, “if I had known I would packed my bag differently!!”
Resurrection is like this. Easter is about new life – hope – possibility – vindication for the victim – and life!!!!!
It is not about physics. It is not about verification of historical accounts. That is the wrong kind of foolish.
Easter fools are people who live into hope, possibility, justice, imagination, and second chances.
- Life ruptured death.
- Christ penetrated history and split it in two.
- Hope overcame darkness.
- New life rose up out of the ashes.
This is the fascinating and troubling thing to me. We live in an either/or world. Nearly every topic gets broken down into ‘this or that’ categories. [examples]
Easter has been affected too. Every year I hear people (and especially preachers) talk about a physical vs. a spiritual resurrection. Did Jesus’ corpse get resuscitated or did his spirit just manifest which is why the disciples thought he was gardener or a pilgrim and it took a while to recognize him and figure out who he was.
The truth is that both of these positions are to miss the point!!! The reality is that neither is a good option. The problem is that one starts with science and then reads that back onto the narrative – the other starts with history and the imposes that on the text.
But if you actually look at the gospel accounts of Easter, you get a very different picture. The better option might be a third way called “glorified”. Jesus had a glorified body post-Easter. It could both walk through walls (for miraculous entrances) but was solid enough to make breakfast on the shore for his disciples. It bore the scars of Calvary so that (doubting) Thomas could touch his side where the spear had entered, but different enough that he could be mistaken for strangers at first. He was neither a zombie nor a ghost – we have completely missed the point of Easter: GLORY!!! Jesus had a glorified body and was glorifying God.
This matters because your body really matters to god. It is not insignificant to your journey and your experience. You are not just a mud shell that houses the good (and eternal) part of you called your spirit. That is Gnosticism and not Christianity at all.
Look if you don’t want to get into debates about resurrection, or resuscitation, or reanimation .. I get it. But don’t you dare give up on concepts like hope, new life, possibility, and glory.
We are to be, among all people, fools for this kind of thing. Easter fools. We see Christ in the gardener and the in the traveler. We bear the marks of our experience – but they do not limit us. Our body informs our experience of the divine but it does not define it or exhaust it.
We are an Easter people. Fools who believe in a better way. The world does not have to work the way it currently does. We can imagine the world working a different way. Call that foolish if you want. It is actually part of the job description – to be foolish. Fools for new life, hope, and justice. Easter fools. Fools who believe in a better way.
For some of you your faith had died. You either thought it to death or life just beat it out of you.
Today might be a good day for some resurrection. For some new life. For some hope.
Does that sound A little foolish? Well that is what Easter is all about. Fools for a different way of being in the world. Easter Fools.