Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Greatest Miracle of Easter Morning

I should wait until Resurrection Sunday to do this post, but I'd likely forget it,so maybe it will help you to have a more meaningful week! Years ago I was sitting in a conference listening to Rev. John Claypool (one of my favorite teachers since I read his first book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggle way back in my philosophy class in college. Those of you who know me know that it takes a lot for me to whisper "wow" to myself during a's only happened a few times in my life, but that's what I did when he taught us about the greatest miracle of that first Sunday. I found his illustration in a sermon by Rev. Dayle Casey of the Chapel of Our Saviour Episcopal Church in Colorado.It's long for a blog, but worth it.

"Go and tell the disciples, and Peter, that I want to see them again." This is truly stunning news! This, in fact, is the greatest miracle of Easter: "Go and tell the disciples, and Peter -- and Judas too, if you can find him -- that I want to see them again."

"How is that possible?" asks John Claypool. After all that Judas and Peter and the other disciples did to Jesus on Friday, how is it possible that when Jesus is raised to life on Sunday, Jesus would say, "Go and tell the disciples, and Peter, that I want to see them again"?

How is that possible? On Friday, Judas had used a sign of friendship to point Jesus out to the authorities. On Friday, Peter, in order to save his own skin, had denied he had ever laid eyes on his best friend. On Friday, the others had scattered in fear, abandoning every principle they had promised to live by and leaving Jesus alone at the mercy of the mob, who, in a kangaroo court, condemned him for a crime he didn't commit, then spat on him and mocked and humiliated him, and then executed him in one of the most hideous ways possible.

How is it possible that Jesus, after all of that happened on that ugliest of days, would ever want to have anything at all to do with people who would behave like that?

Father Claypool says he can't imagine it, in human terms. He says that one time when he was thinking about the truth of Easter, he presumed to fantasize himself in God's place. In his fantasy, he imagined that there was a new family in town that was having difficulties fitting into the neighborhood. They weren't educated people, which was part of their problem in that sophisticated part of town. They were a rough, suspicious, uncouth bunch.

But, in his fantasy, Claypool and his son hoped to do what they could to help the family feel at home in the neighborhood. So one day his son said, "Dad, I think I know a way we can help the neighbors, but let me go see them instead of you, because I'm closer to their age, and perhaps I can relate to them." So, in his fantasy, Claypool sent his son off to the neighbors' house.

But when he got there things didn't go well. The neighbors, suspicious of this young man on his mission of good will, began to taunt and mistreat him. And then, Claypool says, in his imagination, he watches as the neighbors overpower his son, and grab him, and hold his hands behind his back, and then stab his son to death and take his body out and throw it in a ditch. As time passed, in his story, Claypools becomes concerned and goes looking for his son. When he reaches the house, it is dark, all lights are out, and he gets his flashlight and goes down the path to the front porch. To his horror, the shaft of his light fell upon the brutally mutilated corpse of his dear son.

And Claypool says that as he stood, in his imagination, over the dead body of his son, he realized that if he had the power to bring his own son back to life, never in a million years would he have the kind of love and mercy that would lead him to send his son back to those who had mistreated him in such a horrible way.

But that's precisely what happened on Easter Day, because that was the day on which God acted. And that's what makes Easter Day a Day Born Beautiful. The miracle of Easter is not only that God restored his Son to life. That in itself is indeed a great miracle, but that's not what makes the miracle of Easter so great. Raising Jesus to new bodily life is not, after all, any greater a miracle than Creation itself, no greater a miracle than the fact that we are here to begin with. It's not so hard to believe that God, whose Word had power in the beginning to create life and everything that is out of nothing at all, also has the power to bring to bodily life again that which has already lived and has died.

Such creative and recreative power is, literally, wonderful, awesome. But what is more wonderful still, more awesome yet, is the fact that on the Sunday after that ugly Friday, there was Jesus back with his friends, sending the women to tell the disciples, and Peter, that he still cared for them, that he loved them and wanted to see them again. More wonderful still is the fact that later that same day Jesus is there in that room with the disciples, where they were still locked in fear. And then there he is again with them on the road to Emmaus, and later by the seashore. More wonderful still is the fact that Jesus seeks them out again and again to share with them what he had shared so many times before, the good news of God, showing them his hands and his feet, showing them with his presence as well as his words, the wonderful news: that God is not only a God of power, but a God of such great love and mercy that he never abandons you, never gives up on you, no matter that you have given up on him. END OF EXCERPT

BACK TO ME NOW...By and large I wonder how many of us really get'd think we'd be more joyful and talkative about our Savior if we did. I hope you "get it" this Easter, that the great miracle of this celebration is what the Bible says is the greatest of, our Savior's unfailing love for go and celebrate and tell somebody!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do believe I have to agree with Claypool. That gave me a wow too.
~ CJ