Everything Has Changed

5 04 2010

“I am the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” -Jesus (Gospel of John 11:25-26)

On this Easter Monday, I find myself very thankful that the surrounding culture largely ignores the church’s celebration of Easter.  Why is this a good thing?  Consider Christmas, which the surrounding culture celebrates from the moment Holloween is ended until New Year’s day.  But it’s not the commercialization that’s the worst of it.  The most troubling is the fundamental misunderstanding about Christmas that gets imported into our churches and is expressed in the way we in the church celebrate the Holiday:  programs, parties, gift & card exchanges, special activities—on and on it goes.  By the time we arrive at Christmas Day, we collapse in a heap, too tired to offer Christ even the simple worship of a shepherd!  And all of this despite the 4 weeks of Advent prior to Christmas where the church invites us to slow down and prepare ourselves to receive Christ afresh.  Did you know that 100 years ago most people went to church on Christmas day, but several years ago when Christmas had the audacity to fall on a Sunday, a large number of churches canceled Sunday services!!  The truth is that at Christmas time our churches look little different from the unbelieving culture which surrounds us.  Time to repent and reclaim.

So, yes, I am immensely glad that the larger culture pretty much ignores Easter.  They are welcome to have the Easter bunny, candy, new clothes, and Spring-time celebrations (not that I am opposed to any of these things!).  I’ll  take: “Christ is risen!”  “He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!”

The surrounding culture does not get how significant this is.  Everything changed on that first Easter morning.  It is the church’s job to proclaim and live out this truth:

Satan could not defeat Him!

Sin could not corrupt Him!

Death and the Grave could not hold Him!

He is Jesus the Christ!

The Crucified One

The Risen One

The Victorious One

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

So what if I have a bad day—Jesus killed death.  Disease?  Jesus heals.  Addictions?  Jesus breaks addiction’s hold.  Broken relationships?  Jesus heals broken hearts.  Fearful about the future?  Christ’s perfect love expressed on the Cross casts out all fear.  Living with false pictures about God?  Jesus shows us the truth of who the Father is.  Depressed?  Joy himself lives within me—depression’s days are numbered.  Have I failed and sinned?  Sin’s power is broken and God’s forgiveness is a mere confession away.  Lost job or can’t get into the career you really enjoy?  Follow the risen Christ and any job will be infused with light, joy, and eternal significance.  A loved one is dead?  Christ is risen! And has trampled down death by death, bestowing life on those in the tombs!

Easter reminds me how fixated I get on certain things and how I end up labeling them as “really important” when in the light of the Resurrection they nearly disappear.  Everything has changed.  Except that maybe I too often forget to live and act in a way that is in concert with the truth of Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, death, and the broken world we reside in.  So what if I don’t get the thing I want that I have convinced myself is so crucial—the Resurrection has brought to me the entire Kingdom!  So what if I and my family are poor and needy—so was Jesus and he is robed in glory.  So what if I and my loved ones must suffer—Jesus also suffered and was raised to life and perfect joy.  So what if I die a horrible death—Jesus was crucified and rose again to an incorruptible immortality!

The Resurrection

The Trampling of Death and Hell

I see all this clearly in the light of Easter’s joyous celebration.  But next week, or more likely, tomorrow, I will forget that He is risen—or at least my actions and choices and attitudes will betray my forgetfulness even if my brain retains the data of Easter.

The New Testament, and early Church celebrated the resurrection of Christ EVERY Sunday.  I strongly suggest we reclaim such a practice and mindset.  We are, after all, a terribly forgetful people.




One response

11 04 2010
Jason Wagner

The day before Easter is the sixth largest shopping day of the year. With the emphasis on the Easter bunny it is returning to it’s status as a celebration of fertility. People just like an excuse to have a holiday. A friend was telling me the other day that at his work they said that they couldn’t have Christmas decorations up because it would be offensive to their Muslim coworkers. Then he went into a shop owned by a Muslim friend and there were Christmas decorations everywhere! His Muslim friend was saying that he was excited about the holiday and that they were all enjoying the Christmas decorations. Go figure…

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