I’m sitting at the desk in my (temporary) office at the church. It’s messy. I should clean it. That would also clear out my head, I suspect.
I’m trying to work on the sermon for Easter Sunday, but the words aren’t coming. Words seem to pop in my head just before I put head to pillow and I try to scribble some notes then, but by morning the inspiration–both in terms of ideas and ability to write–is gone.
What can I say on Easter Sunday?
“He is risen.” For some that’s all that needs to be said. For others, those three words may make no sense at all. Who is risen? And what do you mean by “risen”? And what difference does it make? What are you all getting so excited about?
“He is risen.” If I speak veeeeeery slooooowly, perhaps I can stretch those three words into a twenty minute sermon.
What can I say on Easter Sunday that hasn’t been said before?
That’s the point, I guess. Sundays are not about original material–learning something new–but about remembering (and worship, but even in worship we remember). Easter Sunday is no exception. Sure, we may each put our own unique spin on it, reveal some detail or angle that hasn’t been mentioned before–or probably has been mentioned, but long since forgotten. But it’s the same story we tell.
And in remembering we are refreshed and renewed.
He died. He was buried. On the third day he was raised from the dead.
Seems like such a crazy thing to say in our day. “Jesus isn’t dead; he’s alive.” We are such an arrogant bunch, we 21st century-ers. Those 1st century men were a little loopy–they would believe anything. ‘Chronological snobbery’ is what C.S. Lewis apparently called it.
I don’t think we have it together anymore than they did back then. These days some believe and some don’t. In those days, some believed and some didn’t.
“People don’t rise from the dead.” Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? If rising from the dead were the norm, Jesus wouldn’t have been all that special. “Jesus rose from the dead? Big deal. So did my Aunt Lillian.”
Of course, it’s because people rising from the dead is unusual that we have to ask some serious questions about the claim the church makes. Are we all nuts? Is what we have here a 2,000 year history of nutcases? Some would think so.
Ah–but look at me: here I am sermonizing on my blog. I better reserve something for Sunday morning.