The Paradoxes of the Easter Story

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With Love from Pat

Friday, March 25, 2016


We’re coming close to the end of our Holy Week journey toward Easter. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter—all of Holy Week—is jam-packed with meaning. In fact, I believe this week is filled with more meaning than we can ever possibly absorb or imagine.

As I’ve read and re-read the Holy Week Jesus scriptures, I’ve often found myself thinking about the paradoxes that are woven into these accounts. A lot of the meaning of these precious stories is found in paradoxes…paradoxes such as these:

  • Serving is a way to discover who we are.
  • Humility is a way to true and genuine strength.
  • Simplicity is a way to full and meaningful life, and a way to become fully engaged with life.
  • Compassion, caring, kindness, and mercy are ways to meaning and purpose, and ways to more completely embrace God, others, ourselves, and all creation.
  • Sacrifice and giving of ourselves are ways of gaining our true selves and embracing the precious joys of life.
  • Suffering and struggle are ways to healing and wholeness.
  • And…death becomes a way to life: not just physical death, but also the deaths that come in all the losses of our lives. Loss allows us the opportunity to let go and to embrace something new and to create something new.

Holy week is all about these paradoxes and more. Here are some others:

When Jesus takes up the cup on Holy Thursday, the profound reality is not about the violent shedding of blood. Instead, it is that we can all have life-affirming and life-giving relationships with God.

When Jesus is hammered to the cross on Friday, the profound reality is not that the politics of violence and vengeance can beat us all into the ground, but rather that God can help us face whatever we must, and be with us even when we feel we are all alone and forsaken.

When Jesus is sealed in the tomb, the profound reality is not that death is the end (and again, not only our physical deaths, but also the deaths that come in all the losses of our lives), but rather, that death and loss are not the final answer to God’s purposes.

Easter invites us to ponder these paradoxes and to live them out in our everyday lives.

How will we respond to these invitations?

I can hardly wait for Easter. My 8:00 a.m. message is Listening to Silence. We’ll celebrate communion at this contemplative service. My 10:30 a.m. message is Allowing Ourselves to Be Resurrected. Our 10:30 a.m. service is a joyous celebration of the resurrection in music, story and prayer. Celene Lillie and Toni Reynolds will be assisting Joe and me in worship leadership.

See you Easter morning!

With love,

Rev. Pat Bruns
Rev. Pat Bruns


Rev. Pat Bruns is the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Email him at patrickrbruns at gmail dot com.