Easter is a big deal for people who follow Jesus. (It should be bigger than Christmas. Everyone is born. Not everyone comes back to life.) Sometimes the big deal is made by having lots of noise, lots of activity, lots of preparation. There are videos and choirs and orchestras and fanfares. There are dramas and rehearsals and productions. Every possible effort is made for church to be attractive to everyone.
If there had been that kind of big deal on Easter 1.0, the people who followed Jesus might have been a little more aware of his actions than they were.
- If, for example, there had been better costuming, it’s possible that Mary would have recognized Jesus. Instead, she thought he was the gardener. He must have needed a whiter robe.
- If, for example, the script had been written more clearly, it’s possible that the two followers headed out of town would have actually seen who it was walking with them. Instead, this random guy spent the whole trip reviewing their sacred writings explaining why the whole awful weekend happened. Better editing could have made this happen faster.
- If, for example, there had been a well-rehearsed trumpet fanfare, it’s possible that the 10 disciples hiding behind locked doors would have been more responsive when they realized that there were 11 of them in the room. Jesus has to say, “Peace be with you” and hold up his hands, the ones with holes in them, before they get excited. A good score would have helped the drama.
Instead of having a well-crafted 45 minute drama, Jesus kept just showing up, engaging in conversation before the people who had been with him for three years realized who he was. And then, suddenly, in the middle of the conversation, they realized who they were talking with, who was talking with them.
I was struggling with my thoughts, thinking about all the words and ideas and projects rushing through my brain. My friend Ed reminded me yesterday, “In the Armenian Apostolic Church, Maundy Thursday eve: darkened church/1 light on 1 image. Silence+stillness= listening. No words.”
I realized that my efforts to have Easter 2010.0 be the best one ever are probably somewhat silly. This is one case where 1.0 is the perfect version of Easter. No big staging, no added features. Just living life listening. And being surprised and relieved that the gardener is actually God.
Happy Easter weekend.