DayBreaks for 3/24/16 – Making Easter Easy
The stores are full of baskets – some woven with brightly colored ribbons. And just around the corner, you can find that fake green “grass” with which to line the baskets, and close by are the chocolate rabbits, marshmallow bunnies, jelly beans, chocolate eggs and stuffed animals that delight our little ones. The stores put those kind of things in an area and promote them as “Easter” items. And, for much of the world, that’s what Easter amounts to.
Is it that we’ve become so commercial that people no longer know what Easter is about? Or is it just the opposite – that people do indeed know what Easter is all about, and that it is that very knowledge that makes them pretend it’s about bunnies, chicks, colored eggs and all things joyful?
I must confess that I really don’t know, but I suspect that for many, it is the latter of the two options. There is something about Easter that makes people uncomfortable. I think it has to do with two different things:
FIRST: the cross. There is no Easter without the cross. And the cross is not as colorful, beautiful or as fun to contemplate as a fuzzy bunny. There was nothing fuzzy about the cross at all. It was harsh, bruising – not an object of joy but of suffering and execution.
SECOND: the subject matter of Easter itself – the resurrection – is all at the same time something we hope for and something that people are skeptical of. It makes them think about death – their own, if not that of Christ. And the idea of someone coming back out of the grave is enough to send shivers crawling up and down the backbone.
There is a place for the childish celebrations of “Easter” – the candy and egg-hunts, the laughter of children. But I don’t think that the church is especially that place. We struggle enough as humans to get close to the cross and what happened there, and anything that takes us further away from the reality of the cross and the ultimate Truth that happened upon it is unfortunate.
For what remains of this Easter week, I hope that you will avoid the temptation to run from the cross and will run to it instead. Jesus went to the cross for you and me. Will we go there for him?
TODAY’S PRAYER: Father, as we conclude this “passion week,” may we focus on the truth of what this means. Help us see the beauty of your love that led to the cross and help us to see the ugliness of our sin that made it necessary. Keep us near the cross this week – and always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple