April 1, 2018: EASTER DAY – 10:55 am

Posted on : Mar 29th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

In a very odd paring of days, this year Easter falls on April Fools day – no joking!

The other week I was at a party and was engaging in friendly conversation when the question was asked of me, “What do you do?”  I answered that I was a minister.  Twenty minutes later I had to politely extricate myself from this man’s anger at a certain Christian denomination for their condemnation of gay and lesbian folks and the spiritual abuse that had been heaped on him more than half a lifetime ago.  In his spiritual journey, he had come to one conclusion:  Christians are a bunch of fools!  As Pilate said at the trial of Jesus, “Recognizing that there was nothing to be gained, and that a riot was about to break out, [he] washed his hands [of this mess] and moved on.”  All I can say is, thank God there was an open bar, which offered the perfect reason for me to excuse myself.

Many today have made those of us who believe in God and follow Christ look like fools. The anti-science / “creationist” Christians have made all of us, even those of us who take the bible seriously, but not literally, look foolish.  The holier-than-thou folk have made an unholy mess of Christianity.  The self-righteous legalists have made God into such a monster, that no rational-minded person would ever want anything to do with such a being.   The gentleman I spoke with at the party may be correct.  Religion and especially our Christian belief in Resurrection may be foolish.  The very concept of resurrection is certainly not rational.  But that is exactly why in the pre-modern world they had fools.

The role of the fool was not to be dumb or stupid.  The role of the fool was to enlighten and open us to simple truth that was so obvious that you ended up laughing at your own ignorance, your own inability to see, your own inability to understand.

So, maybe we are fools!  Maybe you have to be a fool to believe that God can take the absolute worst, most horrible things that can be thrown at you in life and raise you up from death into new life.  That may be foolish, but that’s also joyfully good news!

Easter Blessings to you and those you love,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

John 20: 1-18

The risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene.

Now, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the body of Jesus out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.  They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter, reached the tomb first, and stooping to look in, saw the linen cloths lying there, but did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following after, and went into the tomb; Peter saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  The angels said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Jesus, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  Saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?”  Supposing Jesus to be the gardener, she answered, “Sir, if you have carried Jesus away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned and responded in Hebrew, “Rabbi!” (which means Teacher).  Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to God; but go to my friends and say to them, I am ascending to my God and your God.”  Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Christ”; and she told them that Jesus had said these things to her.

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