Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Idle Tales

Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. Luke 23:56-24:11

I am a real fan of the Monty Python folks which probably dates me completely. Very English and thoroughly frivolous, their antics and wacky skits never fail to amuse me. They really have always been keen cultural commentators, but their style and delivery allowed them to roast others while everyone laughed together. I love to laugh and I love to be silly. The problem with constant laughter and silliness is that people use that as an excuse to not take one seriously. Good comedy is always truthful and always serious. And yet, those of us who were born women also know that sometimes our gender alone causes what we say and do to be dismissed. We are seen as those who delight in idle tales.

That early morning the women go out to the tomb to perform the ritual care of the body. It was their duty, and yet it was also a sacred responsibility to them, a holy moment of love and devotion. The scene they find is not as it should be. They are frightened and troubled. Two messengers tell them of Jesus' resurrection and remind them of his promises to them. When they go home to the others they are dismissed as hysterics, foolish women telling idle tales. And yet, it is to the silly, frivolous women that the greatest event of time was revealed. Women who were loving, serious followers of Jesus, were considered the right messengers to declare such wondrous news.

Today I want to remember that the greatest gifts in life are often in the most unlikely packages, and the best news ever is often delivered amidst confusing circumstances and complicated situations. God's activity is not along societal lines, and we are to be open to receiving gifts from all places in God's names. May we all be open to the gifts of God, whatever the packaging, and may we always be ready to laugh at ourselves for our foolish trumped up piety and pomposity. May we always be open to God's love moving in our lives.

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