They scheduled me to help lead communion yesterday. Which was both Palm Sunday, and April Fool's Day. One would think that by now they would know me better than this, but it got me to thinking about similarities between this holy week and, well, April Fool's Day.
First, I remember hearing about a liturgical tradition from the first few centuries of the Christian church. Apparently, on Easter morning, the priest was required to make the whole congregation bust out laughing before the beginning of the mass. This was in celebration of Christ tricking the devil, as atonement theology went in those days. My atonement theology is markedly different, but I still think there's something hilarious about resurrection.
Second: Someone told me about the origins of April Fool's Day. Apparently, when Europe switched over to a new calendar, some folks didn't get the memo, and so celebrated New Year's Day on the first of April. I think that being on a non-Empire-endorsed calendar, and getting laughed at for it, is appropriate on such a holy week.
Finally, I thought about Maundy Thursday, coming up here. It was my job to give the invitation to communion, since I was the guy holding the cup, and I thought about what Jesus was inviting his loved ones to in that moment. Basically, much as at the beginning of a joke, or the first day of a new year, or at the beginning of any invitation, he was inviting them to mystery. I said to my church, "If you decide to come up here, I don't know what's going to happen."
I was going to leave it at that, in that doubt and mystery and slim hope. But I was reminded of Dow Edgerton's advice about preaching, in class last week, which was this: (he got it from a retired woman preacher, one of the first in Ohio and Indiana and Wisconsin) "Preach your faith, not your doubts." And so, in an effort to preach the part of my spiritual life that feels like faith and not just doubt, I said, "I don't know what's going to happen. But I know who you'll be with."
And they came.