Preacher, this Sunday is April 1st.
This Sunday is also Easter Sunday.
That’s right – Easter Sunday is on April Fool’s Day.
For those of you who know me, you know I am ALL about using anything to get people’s attention.
Even at the risk of being cheesy. Sometimes way too cheesy.
So maybe this is a warning to myself as much as it is to any preacher who reads this. If you are anything like me, you will be tempted to start the sermon with a quip about how Jesus’ bones have been found; or that it was determined recently that we have been wrong about the location of the tomb of Jesus; or something similar. You might be tempted to go on and on and on about how Jesus really didn’t rise from the dead.
Why might you be tempted to do this? To set up the audience so you can deliver the “April Fools!” line. Then, if you really want to lower the boom (I am kidding here, of course), you can say, “Though it is true that Jesus is alive, how many of you are living as if He’s still in the tomb?”
The ultimate Jesus-Juke.
I get it. I’ve done similar things before and will probably do similar things again. There are times when setting up a congregation in order to drop the proverbial “bomb” is necessary to bring the truth home.
But not Easter Sunday. Especially Easter Sunday on April Fool’s Day.
Why?
One, because those who will be coming don’t need cheesy. Many of them don’t come at other times of the year because they already think church is irrelevant. Please don’t give them more reasons to verify their assumptions.
Two, because a majority of those who are sitting in the pews this Easter believe Jesus is alive. They believe He is out of the tomb. Most of them have heard it all of their lives. An April Fool’s joke will bomb because they will know they are being set up.
What do they need? They need to know why the resurrection matters.
They don’t need a trick. They don’t need to be beat up. They need to be reminded that it’s true and that, because ain’t no April Fool’s joke, it changes everything.