Magazine article The Christian Century

Lines for Easter

Magazine article The Christian Century

Lines for Easter

Article excerpt

A GOOD FRIEND and a favorite teacher in the church I served in Ohio was Walter Bouman, professor of theology at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. We made him an honorary Presbyterian. About the only thing we ever seriously disagreed about was his passionate preference for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Not long after he retired Walt was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He continued to teach and preach. When a Columbus Dispatch reporter asked him how he remained so buoyant, he replied: "My greatest source of encouragement is the Christian story of God into which I was baptized in July of 1929. The Christian news is that Jesus of Nazareth has been raised from death, that death no longer has dominion over him."

The preacher's task on Easter is to talk about something that doesn't submit to reasonable discourse--the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Every preacher in the land knows that he or she is not up to this task. Every preacher is grateful for the other ways the resurrection is celebrated: by way of the hymns, the music of the organ and brass and the flowers.

When on occasion I whine a little bit about the daunting task of creatively conveying the message of the day, my closest adviser tells me what she also tells me at Christmas: "Keep it simple. …

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