It’s hard to be original around Easter. Everything has been said and is being said and will be said, in thousands of sermons and blogposts, books and status updates. I’ve even said some of it myself, in a Lent book, in five years of posting here.
But maybe novelty isn’t the point of Easter. Maybe after we are done with all the varieties of Peeps (including dark chocolate covered this year), we shake the cobwebs out of our hearts and look back at the story of the week.
We know that this was a week where the frustration of the religious leaders was building. It had been for awhile. Jesus had made a practice of talking to the wrong people. As Luke reports, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'”
It wasn’t that Jesus was celebrating the financial abuses of the tax collectors. It wasn’t that he was endorsing the economic model of the prostitutes. He often said to “sin no more.” But he said it after dinner, after conversation. They were captivated by a holy person emerging from the holy place. They discovered that Jesus valued them.
Aware of the muttering, Jesus told stories of people going after lost things, finding them, and then throwing parties to celebrate. A lost sheep. A lost coin. A lost son. The stories have been preached so often they are part of the script of the religious structures. But when Jesus told them, he was telling the against the religious leaders, for the people left judged and hopeless.
“A party for being found,” they said. “God, that would be amazing.”
Jesus looked up and smiled. “I know, right? Let’s eat!”
Lent For Non-Lent People is still available and can be useful after Lent.