The sermon essentially writes itself this time around. For the first time in some 70+ years the quirkiness of our calendars merges together two things: the Easter resurrection and practical jokes.
I think about the individuals who show up to Jesus’ tomb that Easter morning, expecting to find a body. Instead they stumble upon a rolled away tomb, a burial shroud with no body and an angel (presumably wanting to shout “April fools!”).
A good April Fools joke is all about toeing the line between what we are willing to realistically believe and the absurd. It’s this convergence of reality and absurdity that certainly lies at the foundation of the Easter story. The reality is Jesus died. They hear him talk about its necessity and then they see the body. The reality is Jesus is now alive again. They hear about it from the heavenly messenger. They (eventually) will see the resurrected body, and touch it too! Everything about this story is absurd. From the death of God’s Son (God’s own self for those of us into Trinitarian theology) to the dead walking the earth once more. Reality and absurdity are dancing together on Easter.
The absurd reality of the resurrection stands at the foundation of our faith story. As Christians we profess this narrative to be true: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” Even more absurd is our place within the resurrection. It’s one thing to wrap our minds around Jesus being resurrected (I mean he did turn water into wine after all!), but it’s another thing to believe that we share in the resurrection. This resurrection stuff is no practical joke, it’s our reality. Perhaps it’s even greater than our reality, it’s our identity. As followers of Christ our story is rooted in the death, and subsequent resurrection we share in his name. While this may seem like foolishness to the world, this is our reality. As we struggle with the reality of death (in all of it’s forms) in our lives, we must always return to God’s Great “April Fools” in the resurrection. I for one am thankful that Easter isn’t just a another day in the year, but an entire season to celebrate the joy of God’s absurd reality in our lives.
He is risen indeed!
-Pr. Zak Wagner