What kind of Easter people are we?

What kind of Easter people are we? March 24, 2013

Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week for Christians around the world. As I prepare to take up my palms in worship this evening I am plagued by a question – what kind of Easter people are we?

Holy week is the last week of Lent when we follow Jesus through the gates of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday,

to the synagogue,

into the garden to pray,

to a dinner party,

to betrayal and custody,

on to the cross,

into the desolation of the Saturday unaware of the promise of the empty tomb.

If we really do buy the whole meta-narrative of the Prince of Peace why are we still having such a hard time responding to that Grace?

This holy season that is coming to it’s climax began with a call to an intentional walk with Jesus toward our mutual destinies at Golgotha. Maybe it’s just me but giving up chocolate, booze, carbs or fried yummies for Lent seems to be the easier route than the rocky terrain of engaging in and exposing ourselves to deeply transformative spiritual practices. I get a good running start every year, really I do. I’m all praying, and fasting and reading my devotional and then someone brings over a “really nice” bottle of wine or the latest oak-barrel craft beer, I sleep too late to light a candle and pray before work, I get all pissy about the language of the devotional and next thing I know my heart and mind have returned to my own sorry version of ordinary time.

And here we are revisiting Holy Week acting out what we like to call the greatest story ever told, but who are we on that stage?

We sure can get all amped up and engage in some kick ass palm waving as our new leader, healer, teacher enters the gates of the city. But when the hard lessons of the temple cleansing, vineyard parables and radical servant-hood of foot washing squeeze our comfort zone we like to skip right over to the wine and bread portion of Thursday’s program. Do we miss the depth and complexity of the story by rushing from hosannah to crucify him to risen indeed?

On Friday…

Where the hell are all those palm waving hosannahs?

Who are we on that day? Who are we today?

How do we keep getting manipulated by the religious elite, in collusion with the state to hang God on a cross?

Are we the fearful elite who plot death for one who challenges our comfortable status quo, the mocking soldiers, the masses controlled by fear deftly wielded by the state, the dumb-ass disciples who never seem to get it, the thief who sees and understands, the women weeping?

And on what seems to be an eternal Saturday, do we feel anything at all?

Can we comprehend the the astonished “what the hell did we just do?”

Do we feel the palpable “they’re coming for me next” terror?

Are we still in darkness and confusion, bewildered and convinced that our faith in this savior, liberator was misplaced?

Are we wallowing in the resignation that something new has not been done, will not be seen in our lifetime?

And what of Easter? Are we yet living into the promise of that day or are we still stuck somewhere between the violence of Good Friday and the bleakness of Saturday?

When the women come to us and proclaim the incomprehensibly good news, how do we respond?

Our response can and should be rooted in love. As Jesus himself told us before everything got out of control, love for God and love for our neighbor is the crux of the story, is the Kingdom come near. Because God loves us without reservation, because nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God, even when we whip, strip and hang God on a cross to die, we are still loved and forgiven. Our response to this love is not only to love God as deeply and fully as we are able, but also to love our neighbor else as deeply and fully as we love God and ourselves.

After the horror of Friday and the darkness of Saturday can we even remember who Jesus said our neighbor is? I try to (but miss the mark more frequently than I like). Our neighbor is the one we would revile, the outsider, the one our humanly constructed religions and cultures have told us to fear, to hate. Our neighbor is the one we would not touch but none-the-less lifts us from our broken lives to carry us to compassion’s doorstep. If we are Easter people we are called to respond to grace of that scandalous day, that unwarranted forgiveness and unearnable love with nothing less than love.

When we can respond to God’s RADICAL grace with equivalent love and grace for all our sisters and brothers on this big damn blue marble then and only then will we truly be Easter people who will be lifted from the tomb of fear and darkness to declare – Christ has risen, Christ has risen indeed!








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158 responses to “What kind of Easter people are we?”

  1. Prior to reading your blog this morning I was debating with myself about whether to try to avoid the Maundy Thursday “presentation” at my local church this evening, where my spouse (female) has a significant part. I still haven’t decided, but at least have some questions to ask myself.
    I have been reading (or at least glancing) at your Patheos stuff for a month or two, and understand the header “Conversations about being … Christian in America.” From today’s posting it appears to me that your being gay (lesbian) has no more to deal with the subject than you being a parent to 2 or more children, having a committed partner, or being dissatisfied with the limitations of the institutional church.

    • OMG if I had a prize for the first person to say that out loud it would most def go to you! My sexuality is a part of me and not the only defining part any more than your is for you. My faith informs the way I live out my sexuality but my faith also goes well beyond the bounds of my sexuality.

      Thank you!

  2. Where did Easter come from? Is it a Christian holidiay, and what are the Biblica proof?

  3. The line that got me was, I got a good running start. I did too. I pray that I can be rooted in this radical love this Holy Week and beyond. I also pray that this love can be extended to our big blue marble (which needs lots of attention and care).

  4. What kind of Easter people are we? A broken and imperfect people who God loves beyond all reason. A people in darkness who have seen a great light. A light that at times seems to burn brighter than the sun and at other times seems like a dim candle flickering a window of a far away house on a dark night. The light never really dims, but that is how we see it sometimes as we gaze as through a window so darkened by soot that it blocks the light. We are an Easter people who worship Jesus in our churches then pass by Him when He is homeless and hungry living on the street. We are an Easter who love God and curse our neighbour. We are also an Easter people that can change the world and one day will build a New Jerusalem if we only we embrace the world as Jesus embraces us. Christ has risen indeed.

  5. “Are we the fearful elite who plot death for one who challenges our comfortable status quo, the mocking soldiers, the masses controlled by fear deftly wielded by the state, the dumb-ass disciples who never seem to get it, the thief who sees and understands, the women weeping?”

    Lots to think about here. Thank you.

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