I dread Easter, in a way. Easter is supposed to be joy over the victory of Christ. Easter is retelling the story of surprised, no, stunned, disciples speaking to a resurrected Jesus they had fully expected to be mouldering in the grave. Easter is, first and foremost, the reminder that a new day has dawned, and bright hope has arisen.
But then I go to the store, any store, and it’s clear that most folks, including many Christians don’t really get it. An array of Easter treats waits for a buyer to come along: kits for dyeing Easter eggs, recipes, pics with the Easter bunny, and Easter togs for that once a year trip to church. Easter Sunday comes and goes and it’s back to business-as-usual, and businesses clear their shelves for the next big buying season.
Hardly what you’d expect from someone who understands the magnitude of Jesus’ walking into the domain of sin and death, dying, and then busting out of the grave. Annie Dillard spoke about such irreverence in Teaching A Stone to Talk. She writes that sometimes even people sitting in the pews are mirthfully unaware of the Holy.
The point of this is not to call for long faces and dour expressions. It is rather to talk about the spirit and intent of Easter. At the beginning of this season we put ashes on our heads and confess our mortality. At the end of this season, we rejoice that Christ is the antidote for our failures and the hope for a victorious future.
The danger, of course, is that we will settle for hot cross buns, lamb, and carrots while thinking that we have observed and understood Easter. It’s a lot like watching a sports event and getting distracted. You miss the game-winning point being made. Or a feat of athleticism so great that it brings the fans to their feet. “What, what,” you exclaim.
Easter celebrates the main point of the Bible. A big neon light saying, “Look at Him.” Everything else is only window dressing. Where’s your attention focused?
Christ of Easter, we pray for greater understanding of what your death should mean to us. Help us to see that the world looks like Ukraine, destroyed by the incoming rockets of sin and death. But you stopped the rockets and started the rebuilding our lives and gave us a hopeful future. May we not be distracted by the substitutes to this vision that we are offered – Easter egg hunts rather than an empty tomb. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.