Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). - John 20:15-16
Clergy friends of mine are already talking about Easter of 2018. Two years from now Easter and April Fool's Day will coincide on April 1st. Chances are good that your pastor is already thinking about how to work that into their sermon two years from now.
In a way, the Resurrection might sound like the ultimate April Fool's Day joke. The world thought Jesus was dead, and yet he sprang from the grave. You can almost hear him say, "Just kidding, y'all!"
I'll be the first to say that humor should be no stranger to Christians. That said, Resurrection isn't an April Fools day prank. The awe of Resurrection can't be dismissed with laughter like the prank you pull on your gullible friend.
That's because it's much funnier than that.
Resurrection is not a trick; it's the truth. More importantly, it's a truth that we need in a world where so much is not funny. The fact that Jesus could face every horrible thing this world could throw at him, could be literally dead, and could rise again is a sign that life will always win in the end. That is so stunningly inexplicable that it is laughable.
And yet it is true. And so our joy can be true too.
So go ahead…you have two years to get the bad jokes ready. But remember that God has already shown us that God has the greatest sense of humor. Because of the resurrection, in the face of death, life will always have the last laugh.
Dear God, in the face of a world where so much is not a laughing matter, thank you for holy laughter. Amen.
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of the just published Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity.