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Talking About What We Don’t Talk About

You are perhaps aware of the three stages in the human life cycle … Youth, Middle Age, and How Nice You Look.


Anything to avoid  the obvious, that we age, that old age is not for the faint of heart, that it ends with … you know.


Someone raised that question with me recently, why we are so reluctant to discuss with one another the one universal reality upon which we all may count, our own mortality. Even in the church, for all the time we spend together, we spend precious little time exploring what faith has to say about the one universal reality upon we all may count.


Even at Easter, the one festival that more or less forces the issue, we go to imaginative lengths to avoid the issue. Conveniently scheduled for a springtime celebration, we have come to equate the story of the empty tomb with the appearance of flowers and leaves, as if the incomprehensible announcement can be explained, if not explained away, by the return of the sun.


True, in the face of the incomprehensible, we grab our metaphors where we can find them, and the renewal of the earth at springtime is as good a metaphor as any, but maybe this time, we might try casting aside all metaphors and place ourselves where the first disciples found themselves on that first Easter, in front of an empty tomb where just hours earlier they had placed a body, a dead body.


There, we’ve said it, that he was dead. Why else look for a tomb if not because it was needed for … you know, a body, a body that a few hours later no longer needed a tomb. Go figure.


And so we have down through the ages, tried to figure what it all means, but however we try to explain, rationalize, ignore, or dismiss, the story, we can—no, we must—say this, that whatever happened between Friday and Sunday is not like the appearance of crocus and tulips—in fact, it is not like anything. It is what it is, the startling, incomprehensible, and (truth be told) unbelievable proclamation of a resurrected Christ.


Take it or leave it, just don’t reduce it to egg-laying bunnies.