It’s Easter. So what…so what does that mean???
We read that God so loved the world that God came to walk and live among us. So what?
We read that Jesus lived a life of love and compassion for all of God’s creation. So what?
We read that humanity didn’t expect Jesus to enter the world as a baby. We read that humanity couldn’t accept his perfect and equal love for all of God’s people…so, we did what we do. We tried to erase his counter-cultural message by removing him from life. We executed him as a criminal of the people. So what?
We read that Jesus thwarted death by continuing his walk among us, a walk that only some recognized. Those who recognized it continued the walk. Those who felt their way of life would be threatened by attempted to kill Jesus by eradicating those who lived as he lived. So what?
Finally, we read that Jesus will come again. What???!!!
Here’s the thing, we didn’t expect Jesus to come as a baby. We wanted him to ride into the world on a stallion with a sword to make the world right…right as we wanted it to be. We long for the same thing now, just as we did then. We want a Messiah who will clean things up. That must mean that the people who offend me will be thrown over the cliff into hell, right? And, those who don’t agree with my way of life will see that they are completely messed up. And, there will be no more cats…only dogs. And, cockroaches will finally become extinct. And…well, the world will be perfect…just as I imagine it…ummmm, wait…I mean just as God created it.
We dress up and go to church, maybe donning a hat worthy of being in the Derby crowd. We boil eggs and hide them, hoping all of them are found before they turn to a sulfurous stench. We smile and laugh with those we love, falling into a relaxed and joyful heap at the end of a long day. It’s all as it should be, right?
Isn’t that what this day is about?
Maybe that’s the problem.
What if the second coming is just as mysterious as Christ’s birth and resurrection? We profess to be waiting for Christ to come again and just know that it will be like a scene from a science fiction movie. You know the kind, a life-form beams down from between the clouds with rays of sunshine providing illumination as we watch in awe and wonder. Only this time it’s Jesus coming to kick butt and take names. Other butts and names, right??? Not mine and the people I like.
Maybe that’s not the way it’s going to happen.
What if we fully embraced the notion that Christ lives in the depths of our hearts, waiting for us to recognize what that means? What if the second coming is actually each of us living as if the story of Jesus truly mattered? What if being a disciple of Jesus means to us what it meant to the ancient followers – that we live as Jesus lived? What if we read the story of Jesus with new eyes, seeing that we are instrumental in bringing the reign of Christ to the world by having compassion for those around us.
It is a custom in Christian churches to light candles on Christmas Eve. First, the priest or pastor lights a candle from the Christ candle. He or she lights the candles held by a group of people who in turn light the candles of those at the end of the rows of seats. Then, person by person, we light each other’s candles until everyone holds a light. The idea is to represent the light Jesus brought into the world.
What if we think about that light at Easter? What if Jesus is the torch used to light another torch, and another, and another until we are all carrying that glorious light into and throughout the world? No, it’s not the torch of our favorite doctrine. It’s the torch of living life as God created us to live in God’s amazing creation. It’s the torch of love and compassion for all of creation, not just my little corner of it. It’s the torch of hope in tomorrow. It’s the torch of knowing that we are loved by that which created us more than we can possibly understand. It’s the torch of listening to others as they tell us their stories of hope, compassion, and love…even when they use different words to describe the Creator.
It’s the torch of living each day as if the life of Jesus matters. There is resurrection in that…in living as Jesus did. It’s allowing the love and compassion expressed through the life of Jesus to be the torch that lights up the world. When we live as if Jesus matters, Jesus lives. When we neglect our torch, we crucify Him again…and again…and again.
At Easter we remember to be the light and to live each day forward as if the story of Jesus matters.