And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
Another Easter is upon us. So I’ve been pondering the “so what” about this annual cycle of Holy Week, culminating with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter morning.
I have time to ponder such things now that I’m no longer responsible for any of these services. Why do we still do this annually some 2000 years after that first history-turning event in Jerusalem?
I think it matters how we answer that question. Is this another retail opportunity to boost the economy with the purchase of new clothes, Easter baskets and all the contents that go in them, and family dinners at home or out with the additional purchasing of special foods?
Is it an annual reminder that basically we humans are a problem to God our creator and so once a year we need this gruesome reminder of how terribly horrible we are and how God had to substitute his beloved son Jesus for the punishment we rightly deserved. (For the record, I don’t buy this theory – but I know many who do).
Is it a most amazing proof that our God is stronger and more powerful than any earthly force such as those well-armed and vicious Romans? Thus they could kill Jesus, but they couldn’t keep him dead. Possibly. This idea plays well in our super-hero culture. But I don’t think this is the point either.
Might it be that God has a very focused and seemingly simple agenda for we humans? It comes in two parts. Part One: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – which is the way God loves all of humanity. Part Two: Love one another, the way God’s son loves us.
Sounds simple, but century after century we keep proving we can’t do this ourselves. Left to our own devices we seem to prefer war, discrimination, humiliation, torture, abuse, and abandonment of one another. So, enter Jesus who A) first modeled the way of life God intended for humans and B) proves that God’s love is stronger than any human failure to live up to God’s plans for us.
Jesus died because he challenged the Roman authorities. Jesus rose because God needed a handful of astonished men and women to get it. They needed to know in their hearts and in their heads that through Christ God has revealed once and for all the reality God loves people and God wants people to love one another. We are created and called to be connected to one another. Not even death on the cross can undo that. The first witnesses of the resurrection eventually did die- sometimes for insisting these events actually happened. Their convictions were strong enough to carry the body of Christ – also known as the church – forward through over twenty centuries.
Jesus is resurrected again every time we treat one another with the love and decency intended for all humanity. Jesus is crucified again every time we treat others as if they were somehow less worthy of the love of God revealed in Christ.
Now, it’s time to enjoy a chocolate Easter Bunny even though that seems a very strange way to acknowledge this astonishing turn of events in God’s love affair with humans.