Easter, April 1, 2018
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Who knows what I have here? What do you think I have in it? What kind of eggs? Who would like to try one of my nice, chocolate eggs?
Surprise! Or maybe what I should say is â€œApril Fool!â€ Today is April Foolsâ€™ Day, a day dating back centuries in which pranks and jokes are played on people. Some even connect the day to the story of Noah and the flood, because Noah sent the bird out of the ark before the water had abated, and since that was on April 1st, he was the first April fool. There is no truth to any of this story of Noah, especially since they would have used a lunar calendar instead of calendar.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called ‘Huntigowk Day.â€™ The name is a corruption of ‘Hunt the Gowk’, “gowk” being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result. (Wikipedia)
Over the course of our lives, we all probably can remember April Fool pranks and jokes. I remember that in elementary school they were quite common. The old sugar-bowl-filled-with-salt-instead-of-sugarÂ joke. The old pepper gum joke, where you over a classmate a piece of gum made with hot pepper, and other such stuff.
It is fitting for Easter to fall this year on April 1st. It is very fitting. Why?
Because God is the biggest jokester of all time. God has pulled the biggest prank of all time.
Thursday evening, we commemorated Jesusâ€™ last supper with his disciples. At that meal he not only instituted for them the sacrament of Holy Communion, the meal in which we gather together at his table, with him, each and every time that we celebrate it, where we gather together with Christians of every time and in every place at once to share his body and blood, the means of grace, but he also began the task of outfitting them to carry his ministry in the world. At that meal, he also commanded them to love one another as he has loved them.
We gathered again on Friday to walk with Jesus to his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and entombment. We were there when his body was placed in the cold dark tomb and we mourned his loss as much as we do our own blood kin.
Oh, the sorrow and sadness we felt, and we lived as we walked away, knowing that they had crucified our Lord.
Jesus promised he would return to us again. It seemed impossible. But God, what a joker. What a prankster. Just when everybody thought that death and evil had triumphed,Â and just when everybody thought that it was the end of everything, God raised Jesus from the dead in the bright glory of Easter. Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Because God has raised Jesus, we have a new outlook on life, living as people of the resurrection, people of eternal hope.
Christ is risen! Godâ€™s grand cosmic joke!Â What an April Foolsâ€™ prank. Just when everybody thought it was the end, itâ€™s a new beginning, for all of us. A new day and new life for every one of us.Â Christ is risen!
Letâ€™s celebrate the new life that we have by living as resurrection people, people who do not give up, people who share the hope and new life with those around us.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!