I Need a Little Easter Right This Very Minute

The commercialization of everything.

The busyness of it all.

The nagging sensation that there must be more than Cadbury Eggs and bunnies and new clothes.

I am completely on board with everyone’s complaints and critiques of the Easter holiday. It has gotten to be so much like Christmas. The power of the story that we are celebrating gets lost on us because we haven’t been in a frame of mind to recognize it and receive it.

But instead of just complaining about this phenomenon, blaming the “liberal media” or whomever Facebook Christianity is pointing the finger at these days, in our church community, we try to do something about it. And so, each year at Vintage, we attempt to enter into the story of Jesus and re-live it. We attempt to walk with Jesus and his disciples through the final days of his life.  

To do what they did.

To eat and drink what they ate and drank.

To see what they saw.

To feel what they felt.

 

And so, tonight we will gather on Maundy Thursday and reenact the upper room story. We will share bread and wine. We will humble ourselves to wash one another’s feet. We will humble ourselves to let our feet be washed. We will sing a hymn and then head out into the night with the sense that something is up.

Jesus-Christ-Glass-Art-for-Good-FridayTomorrow night, on Good Friday, we will gather again. This time, we will gather around the cross. We will listen to the crucifixion story. We will imagine the blood, the splinters of wood, the nails. We will listen closely and hear our friend breathe his last.

On Saturday evening, Holy Saturday, we sit shiva. We will come together and not say much. We will simply be. With our grief. With our pain. With our loss. With our darkness. We won’t say many words. The worst thing you can do at a wake is talk a lot.

And then on Sunday morning, we will get up in hopes of finding a miracle.

 

In all honesty, Christmas wasn’t all that magical for me this year. I don’t know if it was the shootings in Newtown or what, but this year, for me and a lot of my friends, it seemed like Christmas was just kind of blah. We did what we were supposed to do – and there is great value in doing what you are supposed to do even when you don’t feel like it – but we just didn’t feel it. I couldn’t find myself in the story at Christmas.

I am not having that problem this Lenten and Easter season. Things have been dark for me lately. I’ve been down and discouraged. My doubts have been great.

A variety of things have conspired to prompt me to feel this way.

(Now, I realize that what I am about to type qualifies as first world problems. I know that if I “count my blessings,” I’ll find far more than my discouragements. I know that other people have it worse. But I don’t live their lives. I live my life. And these are my feelings right now. For better or for worse, they are my current companions on my life journey. I’m not going to ignore them or pretend they are not there just because someone else might feel similarly with better reason or feel differently for no reason.)

More than seven years of church planting and pastoring at Vintage has produced a community that I love with all my heart. But if you had told me eight years ago that I would still be bi-vocational after seven and a half years, I would have laughed at you. And there is no end to that in sight. And, in all honesty, I don’t mind being bi-vocational so much, but work has been an unending series of stressors and disappointments lately. And, on top of that, six months after my book was published, I am left with the fact that I’m not a best-selling author or a great writer or someone with any kind of significant platform at all.

I feel invisible. And often I feel alone. And like I’m wasting everyone’s time.

 

So, yeah, things have been dark in my inner world lately. And that’s why I say I need a little Easter right this very minute.

For me, as a follower of Jesus, Easter is the reminder that darkness does not overcome the light. That good triumphs over evil. That grace and mystery and hope are all worth it in the end that comes after the end. That love wins.

And that’s what I need in my life right now. A little light. A little good. A little hope. A little Easter.

 

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