Tag Archives: Easter

Why I’ve started to dislike Easter

I think Easter is supposed to be the cornerstone holiday of Christianity, at least that’s what I grew up thinking in my Evangelical upbringing. After all, Jesus died to pay the price for all our sins and then he rose again, finalizing it and making it clear that God approved of the sacrifice. It’s a great opportunity to remind us all how important it is remember our sins and to commit our lives to him and to believe that he really did do this for us.

I don’t really like going to church on Easter anymore. I mean, I’ve heard this same message a hundred times… Easter doesn’t make it any more real to me. I just end up feeling like the pastor is using the opportunity of a packed church and a suffering savior to get more commitments to follow Jesus. But I don’t think there was anything in Jesus’ death and resurrection that was saying believe that I did this and you will go to heaven. There was nothing in his death and resurrection accounts where he said follow me and make me your God.

I also don’t really like working in the hospital on Easter. I have done this the last two years. Last year, I spent most of the day with a family of 30 or more relatives waiting to hear whether a 14 year old boy, who had a completely unexpected stroke, was going to die. And prayed with a man who held his newborn child who had died in delivery. This year, I had to talk with a family whose father and husband, most likely dying from full body shut down, after the doctors found a softball size tumor on his last day of checkups after pushing through metastasized melanoma. We talked about letting go, about grieving, about the fact that he might not go home.

If I had to choose between the hospital and church on Easter, I think I would choose the hospital. To me it feels closer to real life and rings truer to what Easter is all about. Granted, God’s presence is as present at church as it is in the hospital, but in the hospital people have to wrestle with it more… and God’s presence, the work of Christ in the universe, the person of Jesus should be wrestled with. Always, and without exception. I guess I’m just not into “Hurray for Jesus” anymore. I’m not into easy answers, or sealed in blood, or done-deal salvation. If Jesus is the “blue-print,” as Richard Rohr often mentions, if he is the full representation of God, or the ultimate archetype of truth in the universe, his death and resurrection are not a series of facts that must be believed for eternal salvation. His death and resurrection are not a story to be told with much theatrics and passion with the hopes of getting a few more Christians to add to the Book of Life.

If Jesus truly is the revelation of the Divine in humanity, his death and resurrection are a cosmological statement that says, “See, this is what God is like. Death happens. It is a necessary part of human life, it is a necessary part of the spiritual life. And when we die, God comes through with hope and new life. It has been this way, it is this way, and it always will be this way. If you are afraid to die, you will not face the new life.” My sin did not put Jesus on the cross. The reality of life put Jesus on the cross, just as reality of life raised him from the grave. And is it a unquestionable proven fact that he rose? No. But then again, sometimes archetypes say more about truth than fact does anyway.

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The God of more… Resurrection happening now…

Through tears and much listening, our Sunday night community dug deep into the meaning of the resurrection. The moments were so rich with the presence of the Spirit. Silence that was “heavy.” Conversation that kept going and going. I am blessed to be leading (in whatever fashion I can) this group of emerging followers of Jesus. We are growing together, learning together, becoming together.

So about the resurrection… I think this year, more than ever, I was really nailed with the idea that I follow a God who goes to the death in loving example for us only to come out alive again a few days later. I mean the historical, biblical, and intellectual aspects to this make so much sense this year. But even more so, I have experienced God to be a God who offers more. After the pain, there is rest. After the darkness, there is light. After the smog, there is fresh air. After the death, there is life. I need this… If not for resurrection for “more” after “this,” I really don’t think people would be following Jesus at all.

Its all too often that I find myself in the midst of endless cycles of up and down. One day I am fully present, breathing deeply, loving of self and others… the next day I am completely out of it, undisciplined, inattentive, lonely, and depressed. I tell myself all day long, “Nate, you couldn’t do better than to sit and pray right now. Soak in the silence. Let yourself be loved. Listen…” That goes all day long and by the end of the day, I have drowned it all out with noise… music, movies, negativity. I put it off and put it off.

It is these times that I see the morning as my resurrection. A chance to start over. A chance for more life. And yet, as we repeat the process, day in and day out… i realize, I can’t do this myself. I need a God who offers more. It’s happening now. It’s offered to me know. I suppose the acceptance… the breathing in… the living of this gift is now up to me.

“Good” Friday – “So much for that plan”

As I sit here this morning, contemplating this Christian holy day of Good Friday, I find myself in the shoes of the disciples as all their plans are being dashed before their eyes.

Guilty… I’m guilty. I’ve left my dear friend, the one who showed me what living was all about. The one who performed miracles of the like I have never seen before. The last three years come racing through my mind. The crowds, the healing, the once demon-possessed breathing freely and peacefully, the storms… walking on WATER!! It all comes back to me and I am overwhelmed with guilt for I’ve run away.

Yet my fear is even greater. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah. But he didn’t pull it off. We were all chasing a pipe dream. I guess to the very end I thought he would save us from the Romans. I thought there would be some rule, some display of power. I guess now that I think about it, he did warn us that this isn’t what he was about. But yet, he was still talking about being the messiah. For all his miracles, and for all his healings, he couldn’t heal me of my perceptions of what a messiah is. I don’t see now how he could really be the messiah. He’s DEAD! And now what?!?

What am I left with now? I mean, I spent the last five years following this guy who we thought was going to rise up with power. He got the wrong people angry… and now I can only assume that they are going to come looking for me. Oh yah, it’s dark alright. Not just from Jesus’ grand finale, with the storm and the darkness… that was weird.  But my future is dark, too. I really have nothing left… at least not any hope for a revolution or from being saved from the mess we have been in for the last few hundred years. On top of all that is the overwhelming guilt of leaving behind the one who found ME!