Thursday, March 29
Worship Start Time: 7:00pm
Come to the Chapel at Scarboro for a quiet evening service commemorating Jesus' commandment for his disciples to love and serve one another. Please enter at the West Entrance on 15 Ave SW.
Friday, March 30
Worship Start Time: 10:30am
We are hosting Central, Knox and Chinese United here at Scarboro as we reflect on the meaning of Good Friday in our lives. After we leave the draped Sanctuary in silence, you are invited to the Marilyn Perkins - Memorial Hall for hot cross buns and refreshments.
Sunday, April 1
Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Come to Scarboro for a joyful service of music and celebration of Christ's resurrection. The coffee is hot at 10am, and there will be coffee, refreshments and conversation in the Memorial Hall after the service.
April 1, 2018
Rev. Erin Klassen
I love that Easter is on April Fool’s Day this year.
It just feels right.
The joke is on you death! Ha!
The fun of April Fool’s Day is when things are not as they seem.
Rather, they are unexpected and silly and sublime.
I’m not usually one for pranking, but there was one that I witnessed that has continued to entertain me for years after the fact. It was at summer camp, as a staff person. The lifeguard/swim instructor had gone home for the weekend. I caught a ride back to the camp with her. When we got there we went to the staff cabin to unpack for the week and put our stuff away. Except that when she walked into her room, it was empty. Until we looked up. And there was her whole room, just as she had left it, but on the ceiling. The dresser, the bedside table with lamp, the bed still made. Just upside down. All we could do was stand there and marvel at it with a mixture of confusion and wonder and awe.
A lot of those same feeling come up when read or hear this account of the first Easter.
So much of this Gospel story, this good news, is unexpected. And, parts of it do seem downright silly, perhaps even foolish. As it turns our worldview upside down, it fills us with confusion and wonder and awe.
In the quiet darkness of the early morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.
She expects to have some time to grieve. To be with Jesus’ body, to anoint it for burial and to say goodbye.
But things are not what they seem.
The stone has been rolled away, which must have been incredibly disconcerting, confusing. Because, she runs to the other disciples for comfort and help.
They set out to see for themselves. In what seems like a comedic interlude, their running turns into a footrace, with the “one that Jesus loved”, winning, but waiting for Peter to enter the empty tomb first. They see the cloth that the body had been wrapped in. This is an important detail, because it means that the grave hasn’t been robbed. Thieves would have taken the linens as they would have been valuable. Even if they hadn’t, they certainly wouldn’t have folded them on their way out. The cloth that had been around Jesus’ head is rolled up and set aside, which means that *something* has happened. That’s good enough for Peter and the other disciple, and they go home.
Which makes no sense, in fact, it seems a bit foolish. After all that, jumping up and rushing over, racing each other to get there. They see and believe.
What do they believe? That Mary was telling the truth?
And why do they then just go home?
What else could they do? Except marvel at what had happened with confusion and wonder and awe. For as yet they did not understand.
Meanwhile, Mary is standing outside the tomb weeping. After the men have gone home, she looks into the tomb. She sees two heavenly beings (definitely unexpected) who ask her why she is weeping. I’m pretty sure that they know why, which seems to make them foolish for even asking. Except that they also know that things are not what they seem.
Because at this point Mary turns away from the tomb and sees Jesus. In her grief she doesn’t recognize him, as he again asks her why she is weeping. At this point, I imagine Mary’s internal dialogue is saying something like: what is with all these fools? Do they not know what has happened this week? Even if they didn’t, why are they all asking me why I’m weeping, when I’m standing in the middle of a graveyard?
Instead she says: please, just tell me where he is.
He says her name. Mary.
Well this is unexpected.
How can she turn twice and still be facing Christ?
Did the gospel writer make a foolish mistake? Have we been continuing to wrongly copy it into our bibles for thousands of years?
There’s so much about Mary that seems foolish.
To even follow Christ in the first place - the one who challenged the status quo and was doomed to die for speaking the truth the in love.
To head to the tomb alone, while it was still night. What was she thinking heading out alone and in the dark?
To run back to the disciples to tell the that the body was missing without ever looking in the tomb herself.
To fail to recognize holiness in her midst. She was so blinded by grief that she didn’t even know that she was speaking to heavenly beings. That she was in the presence of the risen Christ.
This is, so often, our foolishness as well.
Not knowing when we are in the presence of Christ.
Failing to recognize all the other signs of resurrection, of new life, around us.
It’s a hard thing to do.
When we are impacted by addiction, or depression, or illness, or age.
When a job or a relationship ends.
When we lose someone we love.
We might become blinded by our grief, or anger, or sorrow.
Resurrection doesn’t take away those tears, it just means that tears are not the end of the story.
Mary stays, she lingers and weeps.
Then, when she hears her name, she is transformed, and her world is opened.
She recognizes the resurrection right in front of her.
So she turns her heart toward Christ and says to him: Teacher!
There is so much in that one word, teacher. Not saviour, or messiah, but teacher.
One who prepares, guides, enlightens.
Which is who Christ is for us.
The One who fills us with knowledge of God’s love, guides us toward the world that God intended, reveals new life to us.
He says: do not hold on to me but go and tell the others.
So it is that Mary becomes the first apostle.
She is the first to recognize, to witness, to proclaim “I have seen Christ.”
Are we foolish to have come here looking for Christ? I don’t think so.
I do think that we would be foolish not to go out into the world seeking and proclaiming and living the resurrection. Willing to be surprised by the unexpected. Marveling at what we see with confusion and wonder and awe.
If we are not sure of how to do that, let us learn from Mary.
The first part of this story is that Mary showed up.
While it was still dark, she showed up.
She stayed. She grieved. She kept seeking and questioning.
She turned toward the Holy One.
She was transformed.
She shared this transformation, this love, with those she encountered - becoming more like Christ.
May we be so foolish.