This year Easter falls on April Fools Day, a day of jokes, pranks and hoaxes. In 1975 the ABC television program “This Day Tonight” announced the country would be converting to “metric time” with 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour and 20 hours to the day. Viewers were mystified. One person called in, asking how to convert their newly purchased digital clock into metric time!
More recently the BBC reported on a newly discovered colony of flying penguins in Antarctica who were said to migrate to the Amazon rainforests. Meanwhile a New Zealand tour operator started promoting visits to see a new breed of “long necked sheep” who were revolutionizing the wool industry.
Both instances were, off course, hoaxes. Penguins clearly don’t fly and the “long necked sheep” were found to be Ilamas!
While April Fools jokes may appear to be relatively innocent and even good fun, the emergence of “fake news” and “post-truth politics” introduces a more sinister dimension to life.
Here competing interests lobby for our attention and patronage. The massaging of facts and the retelling of truths to promote particular interests and further certain ambitions creates, I believe, a most dangerous precedent.
So, what about Easter? Today we celebrate the most incredible, groundbreaking event in history – the resurrection of Jesus.
Is this a hoax? Are we being taken for a ride? Have the Gospel writers put their own “spin” on a desperate, tragic situation with the purpose of creating a good news story?
With so many competing interests it’s hard to differentiate fact from fiction these days. It’s almost impossible to identify truth in the midst of what is a minefield of “spin”.
And here, in the middle of all this, the Christian church makes a simple yet most profound declaration. Christ is risen! Death has been defeated. Good triumphs over evil.
Is this true or not? Is this a hoax or is it real? Is this good news or fake news?
Friends, I believe, with all my heart, that resurrection is true. I am convinced that resurrection is real, I am adamant that resurrection is good news.
This conviction informs, feeds and nurtures me every day. Without resurrection life makes little sense. Without this great Easter declaration there is little point to my ministry with you.
It may be April Fools Day but hoaxes, pranks and “fake news” don’t come into play.
For, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!
Rev John Barr