Pastor’s Message This Week:
EASTER ~ Sunday, April 1st, 2018
NO FOOLING: THE EMPTY TOMB IS A NEW BEGINNING
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that
people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: “I’m ready to accept Jesus
as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is
one thing we must not say. … Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:
or else a madman or something worse. … You can shut Him up for a fool,
you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet
and call Him Lord and God.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Easter Sunday falling on the 1st of April presents some interesting homiletic possibilities. Since that first empty tomb that utterly amazed the first disciples of Jesus, everyone who hears the story has a choice to make. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, his Gospel message, and the person of Jesus himself as the Son of God can either be dismissed as a myth, deliberate deception, or foolish wish fulfillment on the part of his disciples, a foolishness amazingly accepted by millions of people over the course of more than two millennia, or be accepted in faith as the gospel truth that brings hope and joy to humanity in the midst of sin, suffering and death.
Saul of Tarsus had to make that choice to become St. Paul, either remaining only a natural person who does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, seeing spiritual things as foolishness, or becoming a spiritual person, judging things spiritually (1 Cor 2:14-15).
For natural persons without faith, having not yet received the gift, or having already rejected it, natural death is the end of their existence, and hope in an empty tomb seen as sheer foolishness. But for us who gather every Easter to renew our baptismal promises in the creedal faith of the Church, the empty tomb is a new beginning, linking us to Christ’s ultimate victory over sin and death, and to the communion of saints of every generation who share that same faith. From Easter Sunday Alleluia faith, every Sunday is celebrated as a new beginning, and every end of one part of our life, including the physical ending of death, is seen as a new beginning of possibilities because of God’s gift to us in the crucified and risen Christ.
Our annual renewal of baptismal promises is but one act of faith that our lives are full of transitions, from infancy to childhood, adolescence to adulthood, mature life and health to the struggles of old age, infirmity, dying and death. We are not to be unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death, and buried with him sacramentally, and are also living now in newness of life.
We seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and help one another along the way to that ultimate appearance in glory. We may, at times, be utterly amazed at this truth, or not yet fully understand the crucified and risen Christ that we acknowledge as Lord and God. But in the profession of faith and in the everyday living of that faith, we also acknowledge that what the world considers foolishness, we understand as the wisdom and power of God. Alleluia and Happy Easter Day, Octave and Season to all fools for Christ!