A good joke can reveal the distance between what is and what should be.
In December, my Facebook friends and I voted to move Easter back to April, where it belongs. Yet here we are, already well into Lent.
There’s a stereotype that we more progressive Christians tend to downplay this stuff: that our interest in Jesus is mostly about his teaching, that if we do talk about something like the resurrection it’s only to debate whether it’s historically plausible. But I’m a lot less interested in evidence for the resurrection than I am in what the thing means. And I have learned, to my surprise and delight, that it actually means more to me now than it once did—before my faith took a bit of a leftward turn.
May we not domesticate the Jesus story for our own religious comfort, but in telling the story, and doing so truthfully, may we worship our crucified Christ and encounter his delivering presence, and therefore be transformed after the image of God.
A friend recently announced that he had given up hope for the human race. There are days when I find myself thinking about this a lot.
My father died about three years ago. As May comes around, the azaleas spring to life, and I remember my father's passing. Just as sure as the tulips and dogwood blossom, my mind wanders back to my dad. Even when I begin to open up to these strange and wonderful stories of Easter, struggling with the notions of recognition and revelation, I think about the last few months of my father's life.
As Easter approaches, raising the dead is at the forefront of my mind. But I think of a different vision of resurrected dead, zombies. The popular monsters reanimate as gruesome bodies; their essential natures, spirits, or souls are absent. Zombies are a reckoning of the horror of the dead coming back to life.
The years I spent preaching Easter brought me closer to the heart of resurrection news. They drove me deeper into the gospel.
Easter Sunday is glorious. But the most important Sundays come afterward, when we are left—as were Jesus' disciples—with the sense that nothing can ever be the same.
The pressure to keep up a relentless facade of merriment is not a Christian pressure. We may not be able to completely escape this, but perhaps we can lessen it by not confusing it with discipleship.