THE TROUBLE WITH EASTER …

It’s easy to believe in Christmas. 

Even if you’re an atheist, and opposed to all things religious or spiritual or “faith-friendly,” you can still get behind the idea of a baby being born. New beginnings. Redemption. A star. Shepherds. Peace on Earth. Good will toward men. Stuff like that. 

Christmas doesn’t ask all that much of us. We know Jesus was a historical figure. So we know he had to be born somewhere, sometime. The “virgin birth” thing can be sidestepped and danced around and avoided at office holiday parties. 

We’ve still got Santa and angels and Grinches and reindeer and presents and trees and songs and lights and all the other touchtones we can agree upon. It’s easy to blend into the crowd on Christmas. 

It’s the warm, fuzzy part of the Jesus story. 

Then…there’s the crucifixion. 

It’s a lot darker than the baby in the manger, but it’s another historical thing easy to believe. We know the Romans did crucifixions. We have the evidence. So it’s not a stretch to believe that a 33-year-old radical dissident might get put to death that way. 

It makes perfect sense. 

And so we can bookend the story of Jesus with a humble birth and a dramatic death. It makes for an epic tale. One worth sharing through the centuries. 

And that story requires nothing of intellectuals. It requires little, to no faith whatsoever, to believe Jesus Christ was born in a cave, and died on a cross, somewhere in the Middle East, two thousand and some odd years ago. 

But then comes a twist …Easter. 

The celebration of Easter is where the faith comes in. And it really wrecks any attempt at just putting Jesus in the category of “good man” with “good ideas” or “visionary” or something like that. 

The celebration of Easter is the celebration of something supernatural. It’s the celebration and acknowledgement of someone who was more than a mere mortal, coming back from the dead. 

Believing that sparks a different conversation.  

The celebration of Easter forces you to grapple with all of it; all the mythology and scripture and prophecy and all the meaning behind it. Easter doesn’t allow you to stand on the sidelines. It makes you stand up and be counted. 

If you put on that new suit or dress or hat and go to that church building in celebration, you are admitting that you buy in to the story. And it’s a big buy-in. 

Because once you say to the world, “yes, I believe that dude rose from the dead and never died again,” you are now admitting that you are willing to disregard all the laws of physics and biology and science, to accept a fact you cannot prove. 

That’s a huge thing to say to the world. 

And it means you are open to the idea of mystery and wonder and unanswerable questions. It means you are a candidate for believing – really believing – in something beyond yourself. It means the smartest minds and most plausible theories in all the world do not deter you from placing your trust in something completely and totally implausible

Easter is the only holiday that requires, in its very DNA, actual faith.

And that faith makes you bound to the story of a madman, from another time, who didn’t just declare himself as someone to be listened to. He didn’t just preach to people and tell them to do good things. He didn’t just do tricks and makeup great, quotable memes. 

This guy said to the world that he was the very son of God; that HE was the way and the truth and the life. He placed a marker that said you could not even get to God any other way but through him.  

Celebrating Easter means believing in all of that. 

And if you believe all of that, then the rest of Jesus’ call will weigh heavy on your heart all of the time. 

For this reason, Easter should be our least favorite holiday. Because we can’t just celebrate it mindlessly, without thinking about what it actually means. it should be celebrated cautiously and with some trepidation.

It should be celebrated with the knowledge that those of us doing the celebrating are thumbing our noses at conventional wisdom. We are turning our backs on evidence and proof and casting our lots with insanity and the highly unlikely. 

But if that insanity is true, then it is world changing and life changing and it makes sense of all the madness on this planet. If the unlikely just so happens to be fact, then we are spiritually reconciled creatures with hope. If the conventional wisdom happens to be wrong this time, then we have found – and can continue to find – a state of absolute and untarnished grace. 

That is worth the faith. 

For those still undecided, who cannot bring themselves to believe in such nonsense, I say I totally understand and still wish you a peaceful weekend of rest.  

But for those of us lunatic believers, I wish us all a happy, yet completely unsettling, Easter. 

May we find our faith all over again. 

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4 thoughts on “THE TROUBLE WITH EASTER …

  1. The idea of resurrection, redemption, transformation at the heart of Christianity has always been the most appealing aspect of it to me. I am not so sure I can be very good or very wise, ever, but I know I can transform, and I’ve seen other people do it to. Is a story real when you act it out in your life and see it acted out in the world?

    Like

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