Brief Easter Thoughts

It’s far too late to really blog extensively on Easter this year. We had a fine, fine morning at church. Really good crowd. All was well.
Had a great time with family this afternoon too.

My own thoughts about Easter this morning were primarily inspired by Sarah Dylan Breuer; one of the finest online preacher/writers out there. And one of the only ones I read routinely. Even if it wasn’t too late to bring you a scintillating and original Easter blog tonight, I might just refer you to Dylan’s words anyway.

What I like about what she’s written this year is her challenging assertion that Easter isn’t really about what Jesus did. Or even more powerfully, crazy as it sounds, Easter really isn’t even really about the resurrection.

Easter is a story about God.
Or, to use the big theological words, Easter is a story about the “nature of God”: who God is…

And to understand it, Dylan implies that you have to keep in mind Jesus’ whole story. A story she tells this way:

“Jesus had the nerve not only to hang out, break bread with, and bless and forgive the dregs of society, but to say that GOD did the same. Lots of good fathers and mothers taught their children what kind of end would find someone who tried that kind of stunt, someone who tried to insinuate that the God of the universe was the same kind of indiscriminate deadbeat he was. And respectable society breathed a huge sigh of relief when Jesus met the death they all said he was headed for. Work hard, pay your taxes, and don’t cause trouble, and you could take over the family business; follow someone like Jesus, and you’ll end up just where he did. The cross. Game over…”

But, Dylan reminds us, the story doesn’t stop there. The story doesn’t end in death, but in wild, crazy, and implausible new life.

And, to Dylan, that “means that God is every bit as ridiculously, incomprehensibly loving and merciful as Jesus made God out to be.”

It’s a wonderful blog entry, and you can read the whole thing here.

What I like about all this is that it gets to the heart of an understanding of Easter that’s always made sense to me…that Easter is really about a story. It’s not about facts. It’s not about solving some factual CSI Miami mystery that happened 2,000 years ago. It’s about a particular kind of story that’s being told about the nature of God.

And the message of the story is something like: nothing can separate us from God and not even death can thwart God’s love for the world.

Speaking of death, William Sloane Coffin died this week. Pastor, preacher, social activist, and inspiration for a Doonesbury character, he was the kind of guy that –from the little I can surmise– loomed larger than life in the minds of the folks who knew him.

You might imagine that he said a lot of things about Easter over the years. Below are two of my favorites.

If Easter is a story about who God is, then it’s also a story about who we can be if we choose to trust it…choose to trust that new life can be born from the “deaths” of our lives. William Sloane Coffin said this about those who can come to believe in this crazy story:

“The abyss of God’s love is deeper than the abyss of death. And she who overcomes her fear of death lives as though death were a past and not a future experience.”

Finally, my favorite Easter quote from Sloane Coffin:

“Easter has less to do with one person’s escape from the grave than with the victory of seemingly powerless love over loveless power.”

The world is filled with loveless power. The world is filled with “powers that be.” The Easter story IS a story, first and foremost. It’s a story to be believed or not believed, but never proven or disproven. And what the story seems to be telling us is that, despite all evidence to the contrary, God is a God who overcomes evil with good. God is a God who can use the worst humans can dish out, and still make new life come out of it.

And God is a God who, despite what you may have heard, always comes down on the side of “seemingly powerless love,” in the struggle against “loveless power.”


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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