Our God is loquacious – that is, God creates through speech. And we call the Good News Good News because its’ something that is received from someone else.
Preaching, then, is a uniquely wonderful task because it is always evangelical, it is always sharing the Good News with those living in a world drowning in bad news.
Easter is a challenge to preachers because it is not natural, it is not expected, and there are no good analogies from human experience that can adequately convey it. Easter is not like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, it is not the return of the deeply buried daffodils in the ground. Easter is about a man who was tortured to death by the powers and principalities, church and state working together, who died, and then 3 days later he came back!
How can preaching ever adequately reflect the enormity of Easter?
And yet, Easter Sunday is the day that makes all of our other Sundays intelligible. For, without Jesus’ resurrection, the whole of Christianity becomes a fool’s errand – unless Jesus is raised from the dead, then we shouldn’t teach our children to turn the other cheek, or go the extra mile for our neighbors, or pray for our enemies.
Therefore, as difficult as it may be to say something about Easter, we must say something on Easter.
And perhaps that’s the actual beauty of it all.
Some of us have no doubt seen/experienced miracles – we know someone who dropped a bad habit, or perhaps we’re aware of an unexplainable change in a diagnosis. But none of us have ever seen someone dead in the grave for three days resurrected, let alone God in the flesh.
But someone did.
All of our faith, this whole thing we call church, is predicated on a handful of people from long ago who saw and experienced something so unexpected that it radically re-narrated everything in existence.
And all it took were three words: “He is Risen!”
Easter is world shattering, it is deeply disruptive, and it changes everything now and forever. Easter is the totality of the Good News. And without it, we have nothing to say at all.
Here are some instrumental tunes that can help get us ready for the unexpected Good News of Easter. I encourage you to sit back and let the music wash over you and, hopefully, you’ll discover something about who you are, and whose you are, along the way:
Explosions In The Sky is an instrumental post-rock band from Austin, Texas. All of their music explores textures and sounds rather than following typical song structures like verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus. To me, “The Birth And The Death Of A Day” sounds like Easter.
Sufjan Steven’ incredibly long titled instrumental track from his album “Come On Feel The Illinoise” is a short and evocative track ripe with recorders, flutes, harmonizing chorus, and various percussive rat-a-ma-tats; it’s one of those songs where you are not the same having listened to it.
White Denim’s “Back At The Farm” is a blistering and raucous instrumental psychedelic rock song. I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to listen to it without bashing my hands around in feeble attempts to “air-drum” along. If Easter really is a day of celebration, then White Denim is the kind of music I’ll be blaring after church!