This year Easter falls on April Fools’ Day, traditionally a time for pulling pranks
on the unsuspecting. That is actually quite appropriate. One of the earliest Christian
interpretations of Easter was that it was a joke which God played on the devil.
Many people believed that Adam and Eve, the ancestors of humankind according to
the Book of Genesis, had sold themselves to the devil when they ate the fruit of
the forbidden tree. The only way their descendants could be set free was for a ransom
to be paid to the one who held them captive. However, God set a trap into which
the devil blundered. Seeing Jesus, whom God had sent to pay the ransom and set us
free, the devil sought to destroy him but he reckoned without the fact that this
was the holy Son of God over whom he had no power. He could shed his blood but he
could not kill him. Eagerly, the devil took the bait and instead of ensnaring God’s
Beloved in death, he himself was imprisoned. An early theologian named Gregory of
Nyssa said that Jesus was the bait on the fishhook used to catch the devil. Augustine
of Hippo used the analogy of a mousetrap.
I’m sure this all sounds rather bizarre to us but, if we are honest, we have to
admit that our own attempts to “explain” the Easter mystery are often less than compelling.
Some people like to reduce it to a metaphor for the rebirth that comes with spring.
“Life always follows death, etc.” The reality is that it is hard to believe that
what is dead can live again—either Jesus or any other human being. I am reminded
of what W. H. Auden said in his poem For the Time Being: “Nothing can save us that
is possible. We who must die demand a miracle.”
Easter is nothing if not a miracle. It speaks of God’s power when our power, even
our power to imagine, has reached its limits. It speaks of God’s love undiminished
and undefeated when our hearts are broken and our love lies buried in a grave. It
speaks of hope defiant in the face of despair. It sings with joy that refuses to
To return for a moment to the imagery of the devil caught on God’s hook, many of
us might observe that the devil (or whatever name you want to give to evil) is very
much on the loose and flourishing in this world. On the basis of the evidence, it
is often much easier to believe in evil than in good, to believe in the devil than
in God. But for all its fearsome power, evil really is quite fragile. In order
to triumph, it needs us to accept its inevitability, to accept that there is no alternative
to the way things are. The tiniest crack in that certainty makes the whole structure
vulnerable and it can be brought down. It will be brought down.
A flower growing through a crack in the pavement seems doomed to wither and die
but this is only the beginning. Those tiny roots, against all odds, will make a
space for other life to flourish. Our faith in God’s resurrection power is like
the flower in the pavement. It is a whole lot mightier than it seems because it
trusts the One whose power and love are infinite.
Easter is the greatest of the Christian festivals. It is a time for celebration.
It is a time for laughter. It is a time for astonishment and marveling at the wondrous
ways of God. Please join us.
Yours in Christ
(Rev.) John Moses
Holy Week and Easter Services
March 25 Palm Sunday Service 10:30 am
March 28 The Living Last Supper 7:00 pm(At Kingston United Church)
March 29 Maundy Thursday Seder Meal 6:00 pm
March 30 Good Friday Service 10:30 am
April 1 Sunrise Service 7:00 am (At the French Cross, Morden)