I was raised on sitcoms that wrap everything up nicely in 30 minutes and serial novels that tie up loose ends in 200 pages or less and Sunday School stories where the moral was clear so of course I like a nice neat denouement myself. Never mind that the Bible and our life experiences resist that happy ending.
But this is not a happy story we are telling here as we move towards Easter. On Sunday, we will smile at the at the children waving their palm fronds, skipping ahead in our minds to the empty tomb rather than face the idea that Jesus was making a defiant political statement and he got killed for it.
When we read Bible stories with Atticus, I find it necessary to qualify them. But it probably didn’t happen that way, I tell him. But we probably shouldn’t draw any conclusions from that about how we should act. Holy Week and Easter feel different, though. These are exactly the things I want him to think about: How do we practice faithfulness and forgiveness? What is this upside-down kingdom that Jesus was proclaiming? How can I be part of it?
When I see God moving, it is in these glimpses of the reversal. I believe in this message that Jesus was willing to die for, this radical upheaval of expected order. We live in the tension of that already/not yet, where the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but still seems a long way off.