Sunday, April 21, 2019

An Idle Tale

Christ is Risen
Christ is Risen Indeed.

The lectionary for Easter Sunday offers two accounts of the resurrection. The choice is the story in the Gospel of John or the Gospel of Luke. I read through them both, the phrase that really caught my attention was “these words seemed to them an idle tale” (Luke 24:11). 

Each account of the resurrection has some minor differences. In Luke’s story the spices were being taken to the tomb in the early morning. One presumes to continue the practice of preparation of the body, which may have been interrupted by the Sabbath. 

It was a party of women, three of whom are named —Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James — they found no body. In the Lucan account, they met two men who spoke to them. “Why do you look for the living amongst the dead?” Then proceeded to remind the women that on the third day Christ would rise. 

The women returned to the disciples. The text doesn’t tell us how they returned. Were they quiet and ponderous or running and happy?  I can imagine a lot of conflicting emotions — perhaps some joy, perhaps some hope, perhaps some confusion, perhaps some fear.

They reached the disciples and told their story. Initially they were not believed. The apostles thought it “an idle tale”. Did they dismiss it because it was women who testified of it? Or, was it simply too incredulous? I wonder if I had been one hearing from the women would I, too, have dismissed it as an idle tale. Ultimately, Peter decided to check out the story and was amazed also to find the empty tomb.

This “idle tale” is the foundation of the Christian faith. 
This “idle tale” has brought hope to millions of people worldwide. 
This “idle tale” reminds us of the cyclical nature of life—death—life. A cycle that is reflected each year in nature. 
This “idle tale” fills with overwhelming joy.

What a powerful story. What a powerful “idle tale.”

Christ is Risen
Christ is Risen Indeed.

Happy Easter