Listen to this post NOW on Beyond Everything Radio!
Listen to this post NOW on Beyond Everything Radio!
Last week in my post entitled “Donkey King,” I tried to liberate the Palm Sunday story from its institutional confinement. Today, I’m going to try and nudge you to see beyond tradition, in order to widen our Easter perspective.
If you are going to an Easter service this weekend and your church doesn’t have a paper maché rock or a fog machine on the stage, nor people dressed as angels hanging from cables, nor a giant Easter egg hunt for the kids, then please thank your pastor for not buying into the need to entertain those who only come to church twice a year.
Easter isn’t entertainment.
In my opinion, the best thing we can do on Easter is solemn reflection. Many places offer a sunrise service which, if you’re lucky, will be quiet and stillness. If your time of solemn reflection is full of distracting music, talking and offertories, then take heart…you have 364 other sunrises where Easter can rise in what the Bible calls your “inner self” our soul.
It’s common for pastors to teach about the evidence of Christ’s death and resurrection. I believe this can be informative and help some people to realize that Easter is not just a big fictional celebration surrounding what the ignorant call a myth. However, evidence doesn’t transform into belief very often. The skeptic who shows up on Easter morning will likely leave a skeptic. Even among Jesus’ own disciples, Thomas was not willing to believe the evidence when it was told to him by his closest friends. The belief produced by evidence is of a different nature to what Easter is inviting us into. Jesus told Thomas:
“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Some churches will be retelling the story in hopes of helping us to re-live the passion story. I support the intent behind this, but we must remember that those who lived it, didn’t understand it until much later. Experiential knowledge is the goal of Easter, but like those who were eyewitnesses, we too require Jesus to appear and help us figure it out. Easter celebrations seem to fall into one of two ditches as they try and give us an experience with Christ: Either we are offered sentimentality or knowledge.
I would like to invite us all beyond an Easter experience which is limited to either our emotions or our intellect. Both have their place in our growth, but I’d like to suggest that neither is actually an Easter experience. It doesn’t do us much good to feel good or learn a lot about Christ’s resurrection, so long as we know or feel it from a distance of two thousand years.
How many Easter services are celebrating the resurrection of Christ which is on display in every life? In my estimation, it will be far too few. In fact, the church has actually trained people to not recognize Christ’s resurrection which is generatively manifested nearly everywhere in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to go through life and miss it.
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Collisions 3:3-4)
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11)
Is it possible that Easter has been highjacked by religion for purposes of conversion? Has the church forgotten that the story of the Christ is indelibly imbedded upon the entire world as the Christoform pattern? This means that when any person, or any living thing, or any thing at all goes through the process of decline, rejection, suffering, pain, death, and then renewal, that the Messiah’s kingdom is on display, and Christ is visible within it all, at the epicenter of it all.
Take a second and let this sink in. It’s time for solemn reflection.
Everything is in Christ. Christ is in and beyond everything.
Did someone you love or trust completely break your heart? That is the Easter experience.
Were you marginalized, rejected, or unfairly mistreated by a group or institution? That is an Easter experience.
Are you constantly misunderstood, isolated, or feel like you don’t belong anywhere? This is your Easter experience.
Has institutional power oppressed you, tried to control you, cancel you, or take your freedoms? Easter…Easter…Easter.
In the material world, is there any element that doesn’t atomically have a half-life before it is transformed into another form of
energy? I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. Easter…
Is there a sub-atomic particle that isn’t reducible to light energy which creates and re-creates the material world? Jesus said:“I am the light of the world.” Easter…Easter..
Is there a business, a ministry, or a personal achievement that succeeds apart from forces which seek to stop it? In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. Easter...Easter...
The Christoform pattern is the design of everything in and beyond the cosmos. Literally, every particle of the universe orbits around and stems from this Source of energy. Is it time to reflect? Look closer at the created world and perhaps we can see beyond it.
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:13)
Easter is not a Springtime church holiday. Easter is a daily practice of seeing Christ, as James Finely puts it, “the infinity of God, infinity pouring Himself out in and as the concrete reality of our lives.” We are powerless to exist apart from the love that is loving us into each and every moment of life.
Easter is that moment of graced awareness, when we realize the Christology given to us by tribal religion and irreligion is far too small. The revelation of scripture is not solely that Jesus and the office of Christ are coextensive, but the implication that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Hebrew scripture, means that Easter is not limited to an historical event for a select group of people, but is continually being retold in every person and strata of life that has ever existed. Easter is the moment there is no place to turn where one cannot see Christ and be with Christ…his life is now our life.
The Christian religion has truncated the gospel and sequestered Easter so that only its subscribers are the benefactors of Easter. The scripture seems to say otherwise. The early church consisted of Jews, Samaritans, Greeks, (in other words…non-christians) who could see how Jesus was unlike any man who ever lived, and how his Spirit is within those who follow him, and with those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Christ following was the faith to live in freedom from within our lives, traditions, and spheres, not to escape into them. “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:18)
Easter hits us when we realize Easter has come to us all.
This means that that Easter is best seen in our solemn reflection… in stillness…in solitude... As our christology expands to the revelation of scripture, the proximity of experiencing Christ in our life is immediately realized in and as each of our life sustaining breaths. Like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, it means there is no perfunctory ritual to perform, no religion to join, no conversion or assimilation process…just a moment of solemn reflection…reviewing the totality of life and realizing…
“Jesus…it’s been you all along.”
One thought on “Easter is NOT a Holiday…”
Very well said! However paper mache rocks are very important. Our family plays capture the cross and the winner gets 30 pieces of silver. (People forget the importance of Judas so we like to reinforce his principles). And we use paper mache rocks for defending the area
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