Notes from Jan

Holy Fools

April 2, 2021

Mama loved hats, but nothing like Ms. Laverne who I met on ABC news last night. She’s 82 and a member of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Every Sunday, during the pandemic, Ms. Laverne watched church on-line but dressed like she was heading off to church. She posted her colorful outfits with matching hats on Facebook with a smile and “I’m ready for the Word.”

God’s words come in unpredictable ways. During his past month, God spoke as I watched a powerful series on PBS with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the Black Church. It’s entitled This is our Story, This is our Song. One more reason to appreciate Public Television and the Black church.

Today “the Word” came through Esau McCaulley’s piece in the New York Times: The Unsettling Power of Easter. 4/2/21. He grew up with women like Ms. Laverne, and in the Black church Gates documented.

Esau McCaulley takes us to the Gospel story of Easter. The crucifixion’s over, and the disciples scattered. However on Sunday morning a few women come to the tomb to grieve. But the tomb’s empty. When they learn Jesus is alive, they’re stunned and frightened. “Easter is a frightening prospect. For the women, the only thing more terrifying than a world with Jesus dead was one in which he is alive.

How so for us?

The author reminds us,”we know what to do with grief and despair…but HOPE is much harder to come by. The terrifying prospect of Easter is that God called these women to return to the same world that crucified Jesus with a very dangerous gift: HOPE in the power of God, the unending reservoir of forgiveness and an abundance of love. It would make them seem like fools. Who could believe such a thing?”

More than two thousand years later, fools still believe, like me. And over and again the Black Church and the Ms. Lavernes assert their beliefs each time they forgive, love abundantly, march for justice and rise up Sunday mornings dressed in their best. Then head to church on-line or in person ready to hear “the Word.”.

Oh, and don’t you know God loves hearing his foolish children sing truth they’ve lived throughout the week.

“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. It’s Grace that’s brought me safe thus far. And Grace will lead me Home.”

God’s beloved holy fools.

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  • Reply dale April 3, 2021 at 7:01 am

    Thanks Jan. “Become a fool that you may become wise — a thoughtful, hopeful, happy fool for Christ.” I read John Piper’s words recently, which support your words, but which don’t bring instant comfort. I often remain silent at the university, at least with my words, knowing how strange (foolish) my words will sound in the great debates. Thanks for your encouragement to be a fool for Christ’s sake; I can handle the other foolish things on my own!

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 3, 2021 at 9:16 am

      Thank you, dear friend, for your words. They never detract, only add to what I’ve written. or quoted.And your gift of humor’s always welcome. Did I just write that?! Easter blessings to you and Marty.

  • Reply Jill Sherman May 4, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Jan,
    I would be so grateful if you got in touch with me. My info is below. Thanks.

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