Archive for April, 2012

April 1, 2012

A New Story (April)

Have you ever watched a movie with a twist at the end?  Some of my favorite are Henry Fonda’s A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Robert Redford’s The Sting, or more recently The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects.  They tell a story from beginning to end, but in the end, they force you to reconsider the story in a completely different way.  You have to question who is the victim, who you are rooting for, and what were the motivations of all the characters.  The ending forces you to watch the movie all over to see a new story emerge from scenes you thought you knew.

Easter does this very thing, but not on the silver screen.  Easter does this in history, in the story of humanity, and in the story of all of Creation.  What we thought we knew as the story of the world has been put on its head, and we have to reconsider everything we have learned about the story of this world.

Before Easter, history told a story of nations conquering nations, people conquering people, and death conquering all.  We are told a story where the biggest army wins, the strongest person survives, and the most powerful forces win.  All of us are taught this story, and many of us accept it without question, even after we join a church.  That’s just the way the world works.

And that is the way we see the world working in the first century A.D.  The biggest army belonged to Rome, the ‘America’ of that time, and they controlled the world.  The strongest people in Israel were the religious leaders, holding the political power.  And the greatest power of all was still death.  Jesus, an ostensibly weak Nazarene, brought a message that challenged these assumptions, claiming that true power laid in the hands of his Father in heaven and his own hands.  Rome, the religious leaders, and death put him in the grave.  It seemed that the story of history was affirmed once again.

But then Easter happened.

All of a sudden what we thought was the story was wrong.  The dead was raised!  Death no longer had the power.  The biggest armies and the politically strong were powerless puppets in the hand of the One who defeated death and the grave.  The life of Jesus had to be reconsidered not as a tragic story of a Jewish sage but as the triumphant story of the saving Lord!

Everything changes because of Easter!  Death and the world violently refuses to hear the twist, but we Christians know better.  And so during this Easter season, we proclaim a New Story and live into this New Story where Christ is King over all!

Pastor Rich