Day 19, April 1, 2020
Easter falls on April 1 this year. Today is April 1 and everyone knows today is not Easter, so that is a pretty weak April Fool’s joke. But in 2018, just two years ago, Easter fell on April 1. No fooling!
Having Easter on April 1 can be a helpful reminder that the gospel message we hear and hold so dear might well sound foolish to someone listening for the first time.
· God became human. God Almighty, the maker of the heavens and the earth took on human flesh. (A raised eyebrow…seriously)
· Not only did God take on human flesh he was born as a helpless infant, an infant not even born into a royal family, an infant holy, an infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall. (A condescending nod…riiight)
· He was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. (A turn of the head to the left, then to the right…and people believe this?)
· He did miracles like walking on the water and feeding the 5,000, he healed the lame and made the lepers clean. (Shifting uncomfortably in their seat, now looking for a quiet way to exit)
· He turned water into wine. (Settling back in…okay, I’ll listen a bit more. Let’s see where this goes)
· He went to Jerusalem and was greeted by crowds shouting Hosanna and holding out hopes that he would be a king. (A king…now this is getting interesting. How did he arrive in Jerusalem?)
· He came lowly, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (A donkey…for a king…now come on. Enough of this)
· He was betrayed by a close friend, abandoned by all, arrested and tried, convicted and condemned, he suffered and he died. (Stunned. The Son of God suffered? The Son of God died? This is just foolishness.)
· On the third day he rose again from the dead. That is why we are here on this Easter morning, to celebrate his resurrection from the dead. He is risen! He is risen indeed! (I’m waiting…I’m waiting…I’m waiting for someone to stand up and burst into laughter and say, “April Fools!”)
Instead they all stand up, many with tears in their eyes, and sing a hymn of praise like, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow…because he lives, all fear is gone…because I know he holds the future…and life is worth the living, just because he lives.”
Easter is not on April Fool’s Day this year. But the story of Easter is as important on April 1 as it will be on April 12 (Easter Sunday this year). And to those who are pouring their hearts out on the front lines, humans wrapped in flesh who are working with those who are suffering and dying, workers who themselves live under the constant threat that they may well suffer…and die…what an important day to proclaim that we worship the God who did not stay far away from this troubled world.
We worship the God who wrapped himself in human flesh. We worship the God who knows pain and suffering, heartbreak and sorrow, rejection and isolation. We worship the God who knows these things firsthand. And today, on April 1, what an important day for the people of God to proclaim our great belief in the God whose name is Emmanuel, the God who is with us, in all of life’s joys and in all of life’s sorrows. We worship the God who will never leave us or forsake us. We worship the God whose firm promise says nothing in all creation will separate us from the love that has been given to us through Jesus Christ, the one we call our Lord and the one we call our Savior.
So no, it is not an April Fool’s joke when the people of God hear the call as it is shouted loud from the pulpit…HE IS RISEN!
And it is not an April Fool’s joke when the response comes back like a mighty roar…HE IS RISEN INDEED!
With the love of Christ,