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Over the years I’ve tried to widen our lens of Easter with varying success and this year is no different. Here are a couple of links to previous Easter posts:
My biggest problem with Easter (as it is promoted and celebrated) is not it’s commercialization, nor the secularization of the holiday, it’s that the church doesn’t seem to be asking the questions that myself and this online audience seems to be asking. The deeper conversation is exposed by those who are willing to ask the hard questions. Hard question arise in suffering. These kinds of questions often anger the devout compliant who then label or judge me. My purpose is to create an existential tension that will allow us to determine the basis of our faith.
- Has Easter become a church growth strategy masked as a celebration?
- Has the church’s theology become centralized around the stain of human sin that the Easter story has become limited to a clean up job?
- Are we to believe that the church offers the only transaction or solution to finding new life? Is it’s mission soley about conversion?
These questions require us to critically look at our Easter delivery system, instead of being processed with the herd. The system offers a process, Easter offers only an experience. Who has the more meaningful Easter reflection: The one who presses through to inner experience or the one bleating along without any questions?
The biggest frameshift for me as I came out of fundamentalism was that the Easter story was not limited to Jesus’ story. At first I too had that gut reaction that this statement somehow diminished what I understood as the only way to God. I wanted to dig in my heels and debate, but instead I was compelled to go deeper. A voice inside called me out and beyond.
What I discovered was that I had understood Christ as Jesus last name and as a result, I was oblivious to the cosmic work of The Christ, the anointed one, the promised Messiah of God as scripture puts it. Within human history, there is no doubt that Jesus’ life and story most perfectly represent the historical, and actual inhabitation of God into our world as a man. The Jesus story is the most iconic particular Christ story, but the Christ story which is retold in everything is what makes Easter something to celebrate.
Why is the Christ story so relevant? Because it is the only story we can experience. It’s the only story of the world. It’s the only story of human history. Easter is the Christoform pattern of every sub atomic partial, cell, plant, person, business, program, government, star, and form of energy. The smallest part of Easter is the historical events of Jesus death, crucifixion and resurrection. Easter is the power and process of all things following in the footsteps and modeling their very existence in the likeness of the Jesus story.
Life–> decline–> suffering–> death–> burial–> renewal of life
Try and find one thing that has ever existed that doesn’t follow this pattern. The pattern is so vital, so “omnipresent” that it matters very little whether you call it the Christoform pattern, the Mystery, Entropy and Evolution, Farming, Business Restructuring, or any other term. You and I and everything will absolutely comply (bow the knee) to this universal power and restoration process.
Paul is always calling this process the mystery (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:4, 5:32, Colossians 1:27, 2:2, 4:3) In fact when describing the miraculous water that poured out of rock for Israel in the desert, he referred to the rock as Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). Christ was the saving power, the miraculous work of God for non-Christian people, for those who had no idea who Jesus was. A lost, rebellious and wayward people awoke to a sunrise where the love of God delivered their lives with a fountain flowing of water in a desiccated land.
The metaphor IS the power of the Christ story. The Christ power guides every atom of the created universe into a predictable, measurable, and unavoidable pattern through the dark, the decline and the suffering into a bright new sunrise of renewed life. The metaphor means that while a physical resurrection may very well await us after death, we can become increasingly more confident of its reality by dying and rising to new life over and over in this life. Each new day is a sunrise of new life. The metaphor of death and resurrection is so prevalent, that we enter its dress rehearsal each and every day when we drift off to sleep and awaken each morning and reorient ourselves back into our life.
The historical story of Jesus is the iconic and personal demonstration of what the life of God looks like in this world. To be transformed by Jesus’ story, then the truth as it is “for us” must be replaced with the wider truth as “it actually is.” You’ll know the power of Easter on some morning when you deeply experience your own sunrise. When you realize for the first time that the power of your life is not your own, but the shared grace of all creation. Then the resurrection will dawn within your heart and you will be certain that your rising up in Christ is eminent.
That is the best Easter anyone one can have, and we can have it each and every day. Easter is not one day of the year, it is the new life birthed in each moment.
Consider the words of Jeremiah:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion.’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'” (Lamentations 3:21-24
May you join the Easter that rises up each and everyday. May we all gain the eyes to see the sunrise which has come to us today dressed up as our very life.