April Fools – 4-1-24

You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday’s gospel reading is here

How often has Easter fallen on April Fools Day? There can hardly be a better April Fools twist than the Resurrection. And it kept happening to Jesus’ friends and followers, that Easter day and in the weeks to come. Jesus just kept showing up in places he would never be expected – often unrecognized. They fell for it every time.

On the second Sunday of Easter (Easter being so big a mystery, we take seven weeks to explore it each year), we eavesdrop on one of these unexpected appearances by Jesus. He shows up in the very room where the disciples last broke bread with him the previous Thursday – what must have seemed a hundred years ago. So much had happened since that Passover meal; Jesus’ arrest, sham trials, mocking and torture, execution. They’d endured all the shock and sorrow and fear that they, his closest followers, would be next.

And then another shock in finding his tomb empty – with several indicators that this was not a case of body snatching, but that the very laws of death and life had been overturned. And then – reports. More reports. A sighting in the garden. A sighting in Galilee. What must they have been feeling?

And now he appears among them, just materializing, for he did not come through the locked doors or windows: When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 

Peace would be the last thing I can imagine anyone in that room feeling. Yet Jesus is suddenly there among them, inviting them to the impossible: “Peace be with you.” When Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” it is more than a suggestion – it is a declarative action, one that accomplishes what it proposes. They were at peace. They must have been, for John tells us, “Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

What word best describes your circumstances these days? Happiness? Turmoil? Stress? Love? Joy? Anxiety? Can you imagine Jesus showing up in the middle of those circumstances? In the middle of your life, uninvited and yet very much there? Can you hear him say to your spirit, “Peace be with you?” And receive it as a declarative action with power to accomplish what it purposes? That is what the Word of God always does. What happens to your circumstances when you are at peace within them?

© Kate Heichler, 2024. To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereHere are the bible readings for next Sunday. Water Daily is also a podcast – subscribe to it here on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

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