CONFESSIONS OF A POST-RESURRECTION SUNDAY PASTOR
WORDS FROM W.W. April 6, 2010
It’s the Tuesday after Resurrection Sunday. Jesus has arisen just as he has said he would each year about this time. A few years ago Tony Campolo did a talk about “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”
For pastors we have to admit that there’s a sequel “It’s Sunday, but Tuesday’s coming!” It’s the pastoral equivalent to post-partum blues, except we call it “post-resurrection blues.” Jesus is out of the tomb…and we know half of the crowd will be back in church next Sunday! One of my Lutheran pastor friends…in jest, mind you…said “Jesus stuck his head out and then went back in. That means six more weeks of Lent.”
It’s an odd situation. We’ve walked the road to the cross, and then proclaimed the hope and celebration of the open tomb, and now we’re struggling to keep the energy of the moment of victory. Kind of like when a team (I flinch when I say Duke!) wins a championship, and the day after reaching the pinnacle people start talking about the challenges of next year’s team. No time to enjoy the moment. Got to move on to April 11th!
Don’t throw rocks at me! I feel bad enough. I wish every Sunday would be filled with chocolate and Peeps! My hope is that the congregation will give me a little “Amen nudge” this coming Sunday, a little motivation for a tired preacher.
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence- an ironic twisting of time sparked by the Spirit- that this week’s message is focused on Thomas- not my nephew, but the disciple, the doubter, the one who was having a hard time moving away from the image of the cross and a stone that was still in place.
There is some kind of parallel there. Thomas doubted because he hadn’t seen the risen Lord yet. Many Christians today doubt because they haven’t seen him either. Thomas doubted because he hadn’t moved from the past to the present. Many Christians struggle because the present is harder to live in than the past.
Thomas was cynically doubtful about real hands with nail marks. A lot of present-day believers are cynical about the place of faith, and the relevance of the church.
The days after Resurrection Sunday are about new birth, new beginnings, starting over when we thought it was all over. It’s the heading towards the next big event in the church calendar- not Mother’s Day, but rather Pentecost.
I’ll keep my eyes on that. I’ll still have to suck it up a little bit this week. It’s similar to our youngest daughter’s coming itinerary- the celebration and exhilaration of graduating from college…followed closely by the reality of now needing to find a job!
That’s a little different than post-resurrection blues. It’s called “post-graduation bank statement in the red!”