My best friend and his wife celebrate their wedding anniversary on April 1. Over the years, this fact has provided endless mirth for me - seriously great material.
Another friend was born on April 1. In this relationship ANY jokes related to birthday and April Fool’s Day is strictly off limits. Some bears you simply do not poke with sticks.
This year Easter Sunday falls on April Fool’s Day. Weird.
On the one hand, I can imagine those with anti-church sentiments will equate the two. Those who believe will be cast as having fallen for the greatest fool in the history of mankind or something like that. In today’s polarized online environment, I’ll be surprised if there is no Facebook meme that makes that connection. Just wait.
On the other hand, I’m sure many pastors will also make a connection. Jesus was crucified, but three days later… Surprise! Like one cosmic April Fool.
Coming soon to a pulpit near you. (Maybe even mine…)
And I understand that. One of the great challenges for all preachers is to keep familiar biblical stories fresh. I know a number of pastors who avoid all Christmas-themed sermons until Christmas Eve or Day. We’ve heard the story of Mary, Jospeh, & Baby Jesus (sweet little baby Jesus with golden fleece diapers) so many times in word, song, and movies that its easy to take it for granted. Besides, there is always more baking to do and gifts to wrap! It’s distracting.
Easter is not like that, largely because not everyone celebrates it beyond candy and colored eggs. There aren’t Easter and springtime carols to dominate the radio airways or muzak in shopping centers. Yet, this season too is distracting. The temperatures are warming up. Spring Break requires travel plans. And here in Oklahoma, we’re quietly preparing for tornado season. Pastels and Peeps are fun - amusing even!
Funny word, amuse. It comes from Old French and means, “to stare stupidly”. It carries with it the idea of no thought and wasting time. The language has changed, but to be amused in today’s world is to be entertained. And of course, chocolate bunnies and bright clothes certainly qualify. But before we get too lost in the change of season, perhaps we might change our mindset.
A cross. Mocking soldiers. Mourning women. Dumbfounded disciples. Darkness in the middle of the day.
Three days pass. A tomb. Sealed entrance miraculously wide open. More miraculously, empty.
Everything changed that day. Death no longer had the final word. Sin was overtaken. Love is now possible for everyone.
So let me ask; this Easter Sunday, will you me amused or will you be amazed?
DAVID TRELOAR | LEAD PASTOR