Happy Easter everyone. My Facebook is filled with many sweet messages of He Is Risen and the like.
They were nice images to awaken to.
In my personal story Easter has overall been a bigger Holiday to me than even Christmas. For years I sent out Easter cards more than Christmas cards because I valued this day so very much. Of course in the Christian faith, Christmas is all about God become man – the incarnation. Without this there would be no Easter. So of course I get the significance. But in my thinking , as awesome as the incarnation is, without the hope of the resurrection God just dies. Resurrection is where our hope lies, whether that be in this life or the next.
Now of course I have many friends of other faiths. Some are agnostic, some are atheist, some are skeptics, some have been burned by the church and maybe have thrown out the baby (Jesus- as in Talladega Nights) with the bath water. Others have been raised in other faiths whether that be Judaism or another system of belief.
That’s fine with me. My job is no longer to cajole and persuade, I now see my mission as simply to be honest, share sincerely, and LOVE. For far too long we have fought wars over our limited perceptions of the TRUTH, instead of trying to live as our master did, a life of love and inclusion and acceptance. One of the problem’s I have with many of today’s churches is that they champion their exclusivity. Unless you adhere to their specific tenets of doctrine, believe and espouse their creeds, express their exact brand of faith, you cannot be a part of them.
I call BS on that!
Jesus was extremely intentional in hanging with outsiders. The only people he had issues with were the religious, who rejected his message. They eventually killed Him. I know he went as a lamb to slaughter and didn’t resist as his life offering was to be the redemption of the whole cosmos, but nonetheless he didn’t start the Rotary club, or the Elks club, or the Lions. Church was never intended to be an exclusive club where you pay dues and memorize the same words and incantations. It was be the ekklesia; the Assembly, the called out ones; the ones who were to model a different kind of love that up to that time the world had not known. I believe the further we move away from the simplicity of love, the more we are having theological adventures in missing the point.
God is Love.
Drop the mike.
If you are expressing some other brand of faith, based upon truth as you (know?) it, I believe you may be missing the whole point in the coming of Christ.
I’m sure some of my unbelieving friends think this in some ways is all hooey. And I’m also sure many of my believing friends are wrestling with the question as they read this, aren’t some beliefs essential? Aren’t there some things that are not negotiable?
Jesus specifically said ” if they are not against us they are for us. (Luke 9)
Jesus said- Chill- If they’re not against us they’re for us.
Jesus spent thirty three years on earth and never once did he stop people and tell them to drop to their knees and ask him into their hearts to be Lord and Savior. If that is as essential as many of us have been taught, why didn’t he lead the way in doing just that?What he did do is say come and follow me. Come, all who are weary I will give you rest. Believe
I don’t think it has to be so complicated.
A few weeks ago I was blessedly given a new lease on life, via my heart surgery it looks like I may yet live many more years.
Because my parents both died early (at age 42) I have lived as an only child with a focus that every day is precious but there’s no guarantee how many of these precious days each of us will get. As I approach my 60th birthday later this year, I have thought often that I have already outlived my parents by almost an early adult lifetime. They of course thought they would live much longer, as apparently we all do.
Because of their illnesses I’ve often thought I would live much shorter.
But not this Easter.
In many ways all things seem new.
Hopefully according to my multiplicity of doctors, I may get many more years out of this heart of mine now that the plumbing is cleaned up. My intent is to eat better, exercise more, and try to live these next years in some ways healthier than I have the last ten. Sounds cool, eh?
But, truth is no one knows.
But, I’m a believer.
And I choose to believe in the resurrection.
The’s no proving it- there is only having faith- which is always a matter of choice.
I am thankful to the many who have introduced me to my faith (Rose Coker), Those who have shared my faith (Moke, Kenton, and countless others) and those who have buttressed my faith throughout the years (Glen Harding, Danny Mack and again countless others.
The life of faith isn’t easy. It’s actually tough as Hell. Read the Bible. Those great heroes (and heroines) of faith went through all kinds of crap. Most came out on the other side but many despaired at times. Read some of the Psalms by King David where he anguished about God abandoning him.
Most people of faith traverse a dark night of the soul at least once, if not several times.
That’s o.k. We just keep walking, putting one foot after the other.
Someone once asked a man how he was. He replied, “I’m going through hell!” Said his friend: “Well, keep on going. That is no place to stop!” Many have attributed this saying to Winston Churchill but I’m not sure it originated with him. Nonetheless, the sentiment is correct. Keep on moving. Believe for a better day.
It may be Friday but Sunday’s coming.
I believe God’s grace through faith will sustain us. I don’t know the conclusion of the matter. I don’t know if everything will turn out as we hope. I know for sure sometimes life takes unexpected twists and turns.
But I do know the disciples were freaking out after three and half years walking with Jesus, seeing the miracles and then watching him die. Peter said, screw it I’m going fishing. Thomas said unless I put my hand in the crucifixion holes myself, I’m not gonna believe. Judas apparently killed himself as his plan to press Jesus into taking power over the Roman government failed miserably. Many of the others cowered in the upper room, seeking solace and safety, hoping they wouldn’t be the next to die such a gruesome death.
Then – Sunday Changed Everything.
The world as they knew it was turned upside down.
Many of Jesus’ own followers were skeptical at first but given the preponderance of evidence they relented their doubts and came back to the master.
But they still hoped to overthrow the government. Okay, so he died; at least now they could win after all.
The Jesus left again, only ten days later. Before their very eyes he was gone. And all they were left with was a memory. His words. His message.
And because they embraced and sacrificed all to share that message, many of us today call ourselves believers.
I love Easter.
I love the hope of resurrection. I love the idea that no matter how bad things are, we can still choose to believe. No matter how dismal we can still cling to hope.
That’s what I’m doing today.
I hope you are too.