Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter: The Last Laugh

(Part 1 of a series.)

The hardest part of Good Friday is probably the most obvious--the story ends in death.  Christ’s death.  His final screams of agony, the nervous scrambling of those huddled in the darkness around those torture poles, they all lead up to that one awful moment when Jesus “gave up his spirit”.  Finally, after all this, it was finished.  And then…nothing.  Nothing but a grotesque corpse to be taken away for grieving.

What goes through your mind when you’re one of Jesus’ loved ones, seeing that battered corpse released from that cross?   What do you cling to as you receive it, wrap it and start to figure out what to do for a tomb?  Do you try to think about the better days?  About the times you had together?  Or does the cruel fact of the silent corpse in front of you simply mock any memory you might try to pull up?

There’s a really weird kind of emptiness that comes after death, isn’t there?  We’ve all felt the chill of that emptiness—losing parents, loved ones, friends.  It leaves a silence that can seem deafening, its silent thunder triggering an avalanche of things we wish would do or re-do or un-do one more time.  Death is just so…permanent.  That’s why we fear it so much.   That’s why we try not to even think about it.  Death looms like a cloud bank on each of our horizons.

Death has this way of mocking us, like the way coming term papers can taunt even the best day of spring break.   Death mocks life.

But here’s the thing.  Jesus’ death was the death of death.  

He broke death, taking its worst only to come back out the other side a few days later.  The permanence of death was shattered.  In its place hope could appear.  That awful silence of the cemetery broken by the rumble of an earthquake and a rush of angels’ wings.  And on Sunday we’ll celebrate how the story comes out.

So here’s the thing:  death mocks life.  But Easter mocks death.


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