There term fake news has recently taken our cultural landscape by storm. Fake news is what is referred to as a neologism, which is a newly coined word or expression. For instance, the word staycation, a vacation where one remains at home instead of going away, is a neologism. Fake news is a type of “yellow” journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes that is spread via traditional print and broadcast media with the intent to mislead for the sole purpose of causing harm. Although fake news is a fairly new term, the dissemination of spurious or false news isn’t. And because one of the purposes of fake news is to sway or divide public opinion, it can be an extremely dangerous tool.
When you think about it, maybe the thought of fake news is what was behind be behind the reason why the disciples did not believe the report that Jesus had actually risen from the grave. When told by Mary that Jesus had appeared to her that resurrection Sunday morning, Mark 16:11 says, “They did not believe it.” As we know it wasn’t until the disciples had a face-to-face encounter with the risen Christ that they realized that the report they had received was not fake news, but rather a glorious historical reality.
This past weekend, Sligo took a four- day trek, as we reflected over Christ’s journey to the cross over two- thousand years ago. We began on Thursday evening as we modeled Jesus’ time with his disciples as they spent an intimate meal together, as Jesus taught them that the greatest among them is to be their servant. On Friday evening we were drawn to the cross as we allowed it to speak to us as disciples as well as those who have accepted to take up their own cross and follow him. On Saturday we entered into the sacred rest of the Sabbath, reminding us that our salvation is not in our works, but in resting in the work of Christ our Savior. Then on Sunday morning, we gathered at the tomb as we rejoiced over the fact that although it was found empty, our faith in the risen Christ is not.
But here in lies the challenge that we face as a community of faith in 2018. Although our faith in the resurrection of Christ may be as strong as ever, if the world does not see Him alive and well and living in our lives, then to them, the resurrection of Jesus is merely fake news. My prayer is that we may we be committed to demonstrate to the communities that we inhabit on a daily basis that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus was not fake news or some elaborate hoax that took place over two-thousand years ago, but instead may they experience an encounter with the risen Christ each time they have an encounter with us.