God’s big imagination (Easter 1)

 Signpost for Easter Sunday 2017 (April 17): Acts 10:34-43 or Jer 31:1-6; Ps 118:1-2,14-24; Col 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matt 28:1-10.

There are a lot of choices this Sunday. Here then are a few random thoughts and questions. Coherence seems to be eluding me these days.

Our Paul told us three years ago that the Apostle Paul’s experience of the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth was no different from that of the disciples. Only Saul saw Jesus; the people travelling with him heard the voice but saw nothing. What does that say about the raising of a dead body?  Most us can relate to Paul’s experience of Jesus’ after-death appearance more easily than we can to the literal interpretation of any of the gospel accounts of Easter Day.

The Apostle Paul teaches that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; and that we share in the resurrection of Jesus. Why do so many of us demand that there be a physical life after death? God has a bigger imagination that we do!

Easter overshadows Good Friday in many ways; but is it the ‘self-sacrifice’ that shows God’s love, or the presence of the living Christ in the Church?

It was women’s work to prepare a dead body for burial. The first day, Friday, it was too late to work, as the Sabbath was starting. The second day, Saturday, was the Sabbath until it became too dark to work anyway. Dawn of the third day was the first chance they had to do their work.

There was a time that we would celebrate each day in Holy Week. Certainly I did, in my first Parish. Even then we neglected Saturday. On that day we might have celebrated the visit of Jesus to the spirits in Hades, the worst people in (Israelite) history. It’s in the Apostles’ Creed, and 1 Pet 3. 18-20. And the Eastern Church celebrates the Monday after Easter Day as “Laughing Monday” when they gather to share jokes and funny stories.

But we do not celebrate Good Friday and Easter in order to remember, but to relive with God the love that was willing to be killed, that cared about the worst people, and that lives in and among us. Love is stronger that death, stronger than Hell, stronger than hate.

Andrew

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