Amidst all the cartoons floating around the Internet during Holy Week and now Easter Week, the best one that I have seen this year is of the Grim Reaper. Yes, the Grim Reaper is sitting beside the empty tomb with the stone rolled away, with his head bowed in futility, and holding his sickle and a sign that says “Out of work.”
Yes, indeed: the Resurrection has put the Grim Reaper completely and ultimately on the eternal life unemployment line. Jesus’ victory over the grave is the last word, the last straw, the final triumph over death and the grave for all time. Poor old Grim Reaper.
And now the Resurrection fun begins, at least for liturgists, sacred musicians, and other church folks. Each of the Gospel readings during the Easter season is either an account of seeing Jesus after the Resurrection or another one of Jesus’ teachable moments.
The Gospel for this Sunday (Easter II, Apr. 3) may be my favorite. Hearing this Bible story read to me as a child, I remember thinking ill of “Doubting Thomas” because he did not believe Jesus had arisen and was physically present with the disciples. “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side.”
And we can hear Thomas’ astonishment in his reply, “My Lord and my God!” Ever the teacher, Jesus uses Thomas’ disbelief as one of his teachable moments: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Perhaps the moral of the story is: never doubt God, and if you do, be prepared to be proven wrong.