Easter asks us to name what we worry about and bring it to God. Easter asks us to face the things that we are afraid of the most (like death and taxes!) and place them on a cross shaped altar. Easter says “forget about being in control and give yourself to God.” Scott Black Johnston, a preacher in New York City, says that Easter helps us see “that the most solitary thing we can do–die is not something that we do alone.”
The question we must ask after Easter is this: Are we brave enough to look death in the face so that we can get on to the task of living in the here and now?
Easter, finally, is all about laughter. It is the reversal of fortune, it is the surprise to end all surprises. It is about God having the last laugh over death. In the Eastern Orthodox Church they celebrate a day they call “hilariter.” It means hilarity or merriment. They tell jokes. They fall on their faces laughing. We don’t laugh on Good Friday. That is not a funny day. But after Easter we are expected to laugh! That reminds me of a story.
A man and his dog walk into an entertainment manager’s office. “My dog talks,” the man says. “Show me,” the manager directs. The man asks the dog, “What is on top of a house? “Rrrroof.” “What does sandpaper feel like?” “Rrrrough.” Who was the best baseball player of all time? “Rrrruth.” The manager yells, “That’s it, get out of here. He doesn’t talk. You’re wasting my time!” As the man and the dog are walking away the dog looks up at his master and asks, “Dimaggio?”1
That is an Easter story. We don’t expect the dog to talk. We don’t go to a graveyard to find a corpse regenerating. Do you want proof of Easter? Sorry but you won’t find that here. If we can prove Easter then faith is unimportant. We don’t prove Easter. It’s like a good joke; either you get it or you don’t.
Easter is the ultimate reversal of fortune. We don’t come to church to understand Easter. We come, as one preacher said, “to stand under Easter until we are blessed!”
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Grace and peace to you,
1 The correct answer is “Mays!”