Reflection: April 1 – Easter

Published on Apr 4th, 2018 by Rev. David Boyd | 0
I tried to think up some elaborate April’s Fool’s ruse as this is April 1st, but I’ve never been much good at that sort of thing.  And as I thought about it, perhaps the ruse is Easter itself, that God has the last laugh and new life wins out.  Or maybe it’s the telling of the Easter story from Mark’s Gospel with it’s multiple and contradictory endings.
Ched Myers, a biblical scholar who lives in California and is part of a collective that is active in justice and peace-work, has specialized in Mark’s Gospel.  It is his contention that Easter is God’s surprise on creation; it is a Kairos moment, a time-out-of-time moment, a wrinkle in time to use Madeleine L’Engle’s phrase that is now a movie.  It is much more than a good inner feeling; much more than a butterfly breaking out of a cocoon, which is a lovely image, part of nature.  It is more than God’s victory over death as Paul has said.  For Mark the Gospel-writer, Easter is the surprise ending that invites us into deep discipleship and partnership with God in transforming the world with Easter light.
I used Ched Myers reflections earlier when I preached at the sunrise service at Ascension Lutheran Church.  Myers is absolutely convinced that the ending to Mark’s Gospel was with the women running away silent.  Myers emphasized that as at the beginning of Mark’s gospel in which Jesus is heralded as the one who makes the way in the wilderness, so, too, in the end, Jesus is the One who walks with us on the Way.  This Way is the way of justice, of love, of peace, of new life.  The time-out-of-time that we call Kairos 

time is the moment when God turns upside down the conventions of the world because God is both in history and beyond history.  God is not bound by our conventions and our assumptions, but blows them apart and invites us to participate in this time-beyond-time movement of love.  Myers affirmed that even though the women went away afraid in Mark’s ending of his gospel, Jesus walked with them, preparing the Way ahead.
Another biblical scholar whom I respect, Fred Craddock, said that Mark’s Easter story is where “insiders become outsiders and outsiders do their work.  A Roman centurion, not a disciple, confessed faith at the cross (15:39).  The disciples fled (14:50), and their places are taken by the women who saw the crucifixion from afar (15:40), observed the burial (15:47), and then anointed the body (16:1).  The burial was handled not by the disciples but by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the council that had condemned Jesus to death (15:43-46).”  This sounds like April Fools to me—God’s April Fools on us who like convention and things to be orderly and logical.
The genius of Mark’s true ending is that it is opened-ended.  It really isn’t an ending, and perhaps that’s Mark’s April Fools joke on us, too.  Jesus is going ahead to Galilee, not as an ending, but as a beginning.  The disciples who fled from Jesus, Peter who denied him will find their Kairos moments of new life.  Jesus will be with them.  And just because the women went away afraid doesn’t mean that they won’t find their tongues and talk about what they saw.  They themselves will experience the Christ on the Way in a new Kairos moment.
And for us here today, it is also a beginning.  That’s the power of Kairos moments and of God and of the KinDom of Love that Jesus proclaimed, it is all about beginnings.  We are not a faith of endings, but of new beginnings.  We are not a faith of death, but of life and new life beginning again and again.  The risen Jesus points to this new beginning.  What Mark also underlines is that we all face set-backs and losses in life, and who of us hasn’t, but Jesus is the One who prepares the Way of Love, New Life and Transformation for us to continue even in the midst of our sorrow and struggle, grief and pain.  We are surprised into joy.  And as Craddock said at the end of his commentary, “… astonishment, trembling, fear and silence do not seem inappropriate for Easter morning.  We [They] will find our [their] tongues and we [they] will witness, but early in the morning is no time to be glib and chatty about an empty tomb and a Risen Jesus [Lord].”
The Kairos moment of grace and new life has occurred and will occur again.  Blessed is the new life given to all the earth, and blessed is the Way of the risen Jesus, who walks with us in our common quest for life in abundance, hope for justice, and ultimately, LOVE.
Alleluia!  Christ is Risen.
Christ is risen, indeed.  Alleluia!

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