My Easter Tie
Easter 2017 — my Easter necktie is missing. In fact almost all of my neckties have disappeared. Perhaps they didn’t make the move from LaPorte to Bloomington with us. Perhaps they ended up in the items we sent to Goodwill.
Every day I discover doodads, socks, books and photos that made the move to Bloomington. In boxes or drawers, they appear. So far, however, no neckties. Most of the discoveries are items I didn’t know were missing. Most are things I can do without. I had thought we had given away so much — but not important things like Easter ties.
The time had come — I always wear a bright tie that symbolizes the joy of the day. For more than four decades I have worn such a tie on Easter. I think “Why would one go to an Easter service dressed otherwise? My Easter ties were usually gold or yellow or a mix of other bright colors as part of my celebration the day of resurrection.
I looked. I pondered. I looked again. Nope, not there. Not in the closet, the dresser, the storage room. Not there. I was left with only three ties packed for other more somber events. These were ties to be worn for a lecture at a university, a funeral, an important business luncheon. (I chuckled at the thought that maybe these three things are all alike!)
No more time to search. The hour was on us — time to go to church — still no Easter tie. Elaine was waiting for me! This never happens. Quickly I chose from the three ties remaining — a gray number, with muted white stripes. It was a tie I had worn to a couple of funerals. This would have to do. Off to church.
Driving I thought perhaps this is exactly the right tie to wear on Easter Day 2017. How does one celebrate during these days of disorientation and discouragement? What does one do when the world seems to be spinning toward more violence and deception. Maybe, just maybe, it represents the idea that celebration this Easter involves getting ready for the new business at hand. Maybe it is a time to for educating, not lecture, but serious thought and dialogue with others. Maybe there are things too important, things to mourn this Easter, like the death of a dear friend, or the threats to truth.
Earlier that morning I sent the message: One word counters a million Potus tweets: EASTER. Let it be our word, our verb. May hope & truth Easter in us as a witness beyond today. I believe it. Easter is to be understood as a verb… we are to practice resurrection as Wendell Berry suggests.
That was it! We arrived at St. Marks UMC in time. Jimmy Moore preached a marvelous Easter sermon. He made it clear. He was pastoral and warm and wise. The sermon didn’t avoid the hard truths of a world where meanness and bigotry are on the rise. (I am so grateful to attend a church that speaks the truth in love and challenges parties of all ideological stances to consider the way the gospel calls for a bigger, more generous view of the neighbor and the stranger and the enemy.)
Jimmy’s sermon avoided bright shinny objects (and, I thought, he seemed to know I didn’t need a brightly colored Easter ties). He offered examples of those who persist in seeking God’s kingdom even when faced with enormous difficulties. He spoke of the ministry of Palestinian Elias Chacour. He told of Chacour’s call for hope amid despair and his persistence in explaining that the man from Galilee will make appearances if only we can see them.
So, for the time being at least, instead of looking for neckties, I will look for the Christ present in the world around. I will speak against the phony uses of threat and bigotry. This will be my Easter business for the year ahead. It is to see the Christ alive today in places where I had missed this gift in the past.