Unmixing the Message

Apr 04, 2021

Easter eggs, bunnies, pastel colors, family gatherings. I'm not here to decry any of these fun things. And my title is not about removing such things from the holiday. It goes a little deeper than that, I hope.

The church I attended as a child did not teach me to celebrate Easter, at least not in theory. In fact, it specifically and overtly taught me that I should not celebrate it. The Scriptures did not command such a celebration, so I and "we" should not celebrate it. Even so, it was interesting to me as a child: I heard the words, “Today is no different from any other day!” But it was the same day when the church building was the fullest, the brightest with color, and the one with the most hats. I thought to myself, “It sure looks different!”

The questions surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus are many. Even the Gospels’ exact day of both the death and resurrection of Jesus are debatable (sometimes hotly so). The date of Easter changes every year because it is tied to Jewish Passover, and there are plenty of explanations already about why and how these are different. (See, e.g., this link in the Atlantic.)

The truth is, although I like the holidays, I still don’t get personally excited about them as religious holidays. I suppose I am glad that many people do. I guess. But I think what we all hope for is a much more serious consideration of the message and meaning of such Christian stories and how (if taken seriously) they could impact

  • our incredibly failed personal lives,
  • our messed up churches,
  • our near total collapse of ethics and morals in our world,
  • our disastrously upside down world of failing politics and business and leaders in these areas,
    and so much more
  • What we all hope for is how all of these could be improved, changed, even transformed simply by taking the message seriously on a day-by-day (or maybe hour-by-hour) basis.

For myself, I reject any personal tag of Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or any other political alliance—frankly, I’m a political non-believer and sceptic, although I am not actually anti-politics per se or of government per se. But I confess that I tire quickly of Christians (especially preachers!!!) who confuse Christianity with a particular political party, who are rabidly (zealot-ly) political in the name of Christ, as if Jesus himself is a Republican, or Democrat, or whatever. I am keenly aware of my own failures as a human being, let alone as any kind of paragon of virtue (which I certainly am not). I pray seriously for whomever the President is (including other officials), and for whatever the government is, and I pray just as seriously for my own next step. I realize that somehow, I am the one who is responsible for living the message of Christ—his life and teachings, his death and resurrection—on an hour-by-hour basis. And all I can do is say to you: you are also the one!

A serious consideration of the death and resurrection of the Messiah is our message—the message of those who call themselves believers. The question is not whether we celebrate or jog our memories about it once a year (if you do, that is terrific!). The question is whether we take it seriously enough to order our lives and decisions by it.