Foolish Love is the Hope for Easter
(Easter Sunday)

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
    It is three days after the crucifixion, and Jesus remains in the tomb.


    Ok, so technically April 1 is the day after Easter this year, but if there was ever a day that represents a surprise pulled on all of us, it is Easter! And what a glorious surprise it is!
    If there was ever a story that was hard to explain, it is also Easter. It defies everything we know. People do not die and then raise up three days later. We are talking nonsense. What kind of story are we trying to tell here anyway?

    It had to be a hard sell. The Gospels themselves speak of the tensions in sharing the Easter message. In the original ending of Mark, no one does tell! The women hear the words of the angel, and they run away terrified and tell no one. Luke includes the story of the travelers to Emmaus, both at a loss for what they have experienced, but then a helpful stranger calls them to understanding by unfolding the Scriptures. And then that stranger reveals himself as the Risen Christ! John shares Thomas’ story of doubt. Matthew includes details about a guard being set at the tomb to make sure people don’t steal Jesus’ body and then tell lies that Jesus was raised – a story that is important to give veracity to the resurrection. But Matthew also tells us that as people gathered around the Risen Christ to worship him, some still doubted.

    The story we call central to our faith is a beautiful, powerful, transformative story. But it is also a foolish one. It is a foolish one because it defies regular explanation. And it is not just the resurrection that makes no sense. It is also foolish to follow a man who was condemned to death for crimes against the state and against the religious status quo.

    Can you imagine how absurd it was to live through that story? To be the disciples and have the fear of all they went through leading up to the crucifixion, then having to face the devastating loss of their friend and the man they thought was the Messiah, only to have the uncanny surprise of Easter morning? It is no wonder that Peter, even after encountering Christ resurrected, decided to go back to fishing – at least at first.

    But as absurd as it is for the disciples to have this story to share, imagine being Paul! Paul had persecuted the very people who shared this story, only to have his own dramatic encounter with Christ and then switch to telling the very story he swore was not true.

     Paul didn’t just start to believe the story, he founded churches all around the Mediterranean based on that story. The Corinthian church was likely one of them. Yet as he has left them to their own devices, they have started telling the story differently. And Paul acknowledges the difficulty of the Gospel. He knows that the cross is “scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1:23) Yet what looks like foolishness to us, an accident of history that should have never happened, contains all of the wisdom and redemptive love of God.

     Holy Week must have been as disorienting to the disciples and the crowds following Jesus as the fall of the Berlin wall was to Germans. As I recount in the video, the Berlin Wall came down due to an unprepared spokesperson, an unclear memo, and a confused chain of command. The people who put the policy in place certainly didn’t expect they were undoing decades of confinement and division, and yet that is exactly what happened. What was meant to perpetuate power and oppression instead undid them. Happy Easter!

    Still, I remember the day it happened. I remember how stunned the world was. There was disbelief that it would result in lasting change. Fear of war. Suspicion it was a trick. But no, it was God working weirdly in history – finding freedom and life in a poorly worded memo!  Just as God took an instrument of death and torture and turned it into a sign of that same freedom and life.  

    And yet, doubts still persist. Questions are still raised. Honestly, I am confident that God expects such things. But step back and look at the truth of the story – the truth that God will always meet our hate with love, meet our violence with healing, meet our death with life. That is a story worth living for.

     Sometimes I do have people ask me, “If it all turns out to just be a story, if it isn’t true that Jesus rose from the grave, how will you feel about your life then? Will you have lived your life as a fool because you gave your life to this Gospel?”  Usually this question comes from a practicing atheist who insists their way is correct. The way I see it, the result is the same whether atheism or Christianity is true. Either way I have lived as a fool, but as a follower of Christ my foolishness is that I have loved people. Imperfect people. Selfish people. Hurting people. Angry people. Gifted people. Poor people. Rich people. Different people. People like me. What a foolish thing to do with my time?!?! And what an incredible life it will have been. And all of it is inspired by the story of Jesus Christ.

    So bring on the foolishness, whether it is April 1 or not! May you and I always love as foolishly as Jesus loved, and may we always have each other along as companions in this life of Foolish Love!  

  • What doubts or questions do you have about the cross and the resurrection? What has been helpful in navigating those doubts?
  • What is the most foolish act of love you have ever seen?
  • If you have you seen something that looked like a disaster waiting to happen become something amazing and beautiful, how can you see Jesus at work in that moment?
  • What have you learned about love as you have taken this Lenten journey?


Sunday, March 31
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Personal Reflection
     Question: As we have completed our Lenten journey to end in the joy of the empty tomb, we recognize this is just the new beginning of the story. What will you do going forward to share Jesus’ foolish love with others?