After the Miracle…
May 2, 2016
-by Tim Schenck
Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
The most anticlimactic thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life, happened on live TV in 1986. Some may remember the great hype for a program hosted by Geraldo Rivera called “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults.” This was a live two-hour special at the conclusion of which Geraldo was to open a newly discovered stone vault underneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago.
Most of the show, which was also watched by 30 million other suckers, was spent speculating on what might be inside the vault: cash, bodies, liquor, gangster secrets.
Once the audience had been worked up into a frenzy, the moment came for Geraldo to open the vault. There were a series of detonations and then a giant chain yanked open the vault. After two titillating hours spent rehashing the glory days of Al Capone and the Untouchables, once the smoke cleared, Geraldo had unearthed…absolutely nothing. Well that’s not entirely true; he did find two empty gin bottles and a stop sign. But that was it. Perhaps the greatest anticlimax ever.
Sometimes Eastertide can feel anticlimactic. Yes, we’re still beating the drum of the Great 50 Days, but the flowers adorning the Easter altar have long since withered and been removed; what’s left of the Easter candy is getting stale; the “Alleluias” that continue to ring out have lost their novelty.
And yet this is precisely the time to double down on the joy of the resurrection. Jesus is often most present after the initial euphoria has subsided; in the moments when we’re left alone to ponder the miracle of divine relationship.
The abiding joy of the resurrection journey draws us ever deeper into this relationship. It reminds us that true faith doesn’t simply bubble on the surface, but exists in the profound issues of engagement with God that lurk beneath the joy and jelly beans.
Now, I don’t recommend it, but you can watch the full two-hours of “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults” at geraldo.com. That’s the epitome of anticlimax. But for those, like Philip and all of us who seek to be disciples of the risen Christ, the Easter season is one that transcends any potential anticlimax. Because the life-giving, death-conquering empty tomb, has absolutely nothing in common with the disappointment of an empty vault.
Besides continuing to engage with 50 Days of Fabulous, how are you keeping Easter joy alive this season? Have you encountered any moments of anticlimax during Eastertide? What provides you with inspiration when you’re feeling spiritually dry during a season specifically set aside to revel in the resurrection?