The hardest thing, for pastors, is keeping it from becoming anticlimactic. Careful and creative planning for Holy Week services, making sure they are filled with meaning and purpose, takes everything we have.
Then, there is Easter Sunday. What does one say that has not been said (and said repeatedly for 2000 years)? How do you write that sermon? What does one do that has not been done before? How do you plan that service? What is one to do after the “high holy days” of Holy Week?
Of course, it is worse on the Second Sunday of Easter, but I digress.
Perhaps, this anticlimactic nature of things is as it should be. The Gospel writers even had this problem. They spent whole chapters describing the events of Thursday night and Friday; only verses telling of Sunday morning. None of the verses, by the way, describes how it happened, simply that it happened.
So, again, perhaps that’s as it should be. A baby is born and, other than the family and a few friends, the world hardly notices. A glance is exchanged as a couple meets, a whole history is set in motion, but no one notices really other than the couple. A life comes to its close in an ICU unit and space is made for the next patient while a few grieve and move toward the funeral home where another grieving family moves on and makes way. Perhaps the most significant, life-altering events happen with little notice.
And perhaps we should have known that already. God speaks to a nomadic shepherd in Ur and tells him, “Abram, time to move on.” He goes and is missed by few, his departure little noted. Who knew? God appears on a mountain to a fugitive from Egyptian justice who then sets a band of slaves free. The Egyptians find the event so insignificant that they don’t record it anywhere in their history. Who knew? God sent an angel to a young woman in Nazareth with the word that she will have a child and, other than a fiancée and a cousin, no one seems to pay much attention. Who knew?
Perhaps there is an almost anticlimactic moment in the work of grace. Perhaps that is how and when God works best, brings resurrection – when no one is paying attention, where no one expects it, when the world is through with its splash and glitter, when violence and power are finally done. Perhaps it is then that the risen Christ will appear and we will think him simply to be the gardener. Or perhaps he joins us for a Sunday afternoon stroll and we recognize him in the breaking of bread. Or maybe he will just meet us on the road with a simple greeting.
Perhaps….. After all, who knew?
See you Sunday as we celebrate the resurrection.
Grace and peace.