Easter Day, April 1
"Jesus was not a theologian. He was God who told stories."
-- Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
I sometimes think that no one over the age of twelve should be allowed to preach on Easter Sunday. I think this especially when I am scheduled to preach.
"I have seen the Lord," Mary Magdalene announces to the disciples after she encounters Jesus at the empty tomb in the Gospel of John. Gallons of ink and rivers of blood have been spilled in arguments about what exactly the resurrection means, but I experience it most forcefully when I hear it as a straightforward story. Jesus was dead, and then he was alive. That's definitely cause for childlike wonder. But it also provokes the kind of healthy skepticism native to tweens. As my daughter Lee used to say, "I have some questions."
On Easter, I don't want to explain the miraculous story of the resurrection nearly as much as I want to revel in it-but also ask some questions. As the father of a boy afflicted with a spirit said to Jesus in Mark's Gospel, "I believe. Help my unbelief."
After Jesus rose from the dead, John's Gospel tells us that he appeared to the disciples while they were fishing. "Feed my sheep," he said to Simon Peter. "Follow me." These are simple commandments; they're even easy enough for children to understand. And yet for Christians, they are the work of our entire lives.
President Jennings wrote this Easter meditation for Episcopal Relief & Development's annual Lenten booklet. Find the entire series online.