by Derek Archer, @daredub
The Tension of Easter
For some it is bunnies and chocolates, for others it is reflection and relief. This season is seen differently by groups of people who recognize and celebrate Easter.
I grew up with plastic eggs, baskets full of fake grass, and family loading into the car to see where we could get as much free candy as possible.
I went to school with kids who had to dress nicely, acted miserable, and who could not attend these types of ‘celebrations’. (Hey, more free candy for me.) Their parents felt like it was an insult to God to minimize the sanctity of the day and cheapen it with pagan celebrations.
(One thing was for sure though, I had a lot more fun on Easter than the religious kids.)
There are two major camps, aren’t there? There are those who celebrate Easter as a cultural holiday, but don’t really celebrate what it means. (This group has a wide spectrum from those who have no idea how this weekend is related to Jesus to those who understand but do not want to submit to God.)
The second group is about celebrating the incredible work that Jesus did on the cross. (This group varies from those who will engage in eggs and candy, to those who will have nothing to do with any commercialization of the holiday.)
The first group sees the second as being religious or uptight. The second group can see the first group as being trivial, or spiritually uneducated. We classify each other and allow the most fantastic day in the history of the world to separate, rather than bringing us closer together.
What do you like best?
Do you know what it is that you like best about this season?
- Is it the pastel colors and fancy outfits?
- Is it the coloring, hiding of the eggs, and the joy on kids faces?
- Is it what was accomplished on the cross, and the price that was paid?
- Is it that the curtain was torn giving you access to God?
- Is it getting together with your family? Perhaps and afternoon meal?
- Is it finishing up the season of Lent and getting something you love back?
What would you share if someone asked you?
As you prepare for your Sunday celebration, can I remind you of something? There are many around you who have no idea of what Easter represents. Often lost in the pageantry of a busy weekend is the message of the weekend. The cross of Christ is a stumbling block which means people will trip over it. A person who trips does not often bless the object they are tripping over, that object becomes an object of anger.
It is only the person who has seen the cross for what it is, the gateway to God, that can properly express gratitude after tripping over it. It is only the person who has entered the torn curtain that can explain the significance of what previously separated the Holy of Holies from the people of God.
You cannot expect a person who does not claim to follow Jesus to love the same thing about Easter that you love, but you can still love them.
Can you invite one person to meet with you over coffee, attend a service with you, or join you for a meal? (I am not just asking this as a suggestion, but as a person who did not understand the story of God. I had no idea what was celebrated during the Easter season, or why Christians would get excited about their hero being killed.) When you meet with them, could you ask them what they like about the Easter season? Maybe they don’t like anything about the season.
The challenge is to build a real friendship, with a real person, and talk about stuff that really matters. If we believe that we celebrate this week that Jesus made a way to God, then others need to know. Others do not need cliche answers, but real friendship. Who can you share with, dine with, talk with, and love regardless of their beliefs?
Can you let others have their opinions about Easter, Jesus, the church or your faith without you loving them less? Can you love them even if their opinions are different than yours? You are called to.
Who is your one person?