Easter Paradox

 

Easter: colored eggs, bunnies, baskets, bright hats, lilies, and the coming of spring. Easter, without the pressures of Christmas, is probably the most fun Christian holiday. The traditions associated with the holiday are colorful, tasty and, just generally delightful. As a minister it is a great time of year. The worship services are something I genuinely enjoy. From Palm Sunday, through Maundy Thursday, to Easter there is a lot to reflect upon and our worship traditions provide meaningful and different sorts of experiences. I am especially fond of worship on the beach on Easter morning—at 6:00 AM this year.

All this sweetness and light is ironic given the central symbol of the season—the cross. I do not like to dwell on such things, but those who do tell me it is the most painful of all methods of capital punishment ever devised. The ordeal of the cross is best summed up by the words of Jesus, “My God, my God, who have you forsaken me?”This suffering of Jesus seems, for some, to take center stage in the Easter story (i.e. “The Passion of the Christ”). Given what happened this is understandable, but it is not the true focus of the story.

The most important message of Easter is the new life that can come out of death. It is actually all about the resurrection. But that means nothing without acknowledging and pain and death of Jesus. This is not transformation, like a caterpillar into a butterfly, but rebirth from death. The good news of Easter is that the disciples of Jesus experienced a resurrected Christ that inspired them to risk their lives to spread his message. This is an amazing event.

Remembering the pain that preceded the joy of Easter also makes this story real. Real then, and real now. For Easter is a promise of rebirth, not just the remembrance of it. New life that is always available for us, even in the darkest times of our life.

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