Recently, the Friendship/Fireside Conversation Sunday School class finished their study on the series Saving Jesus. One of the things the series pointed out was that most creeds go right from Jesus’ birth to his death and resurrection. For example, in the Apostle’s Creed, the transition sounds like this:
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified, died and, and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead.
Do you see how that moves from his birth to his death and resurrection? I am afraid it is also what we do as Christians. We move from the beauty of Christmas to the glory of Easter. We go from singing “Joy to the World” on the patio surrounded with candles to singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” at the end of the Easter service. We go from wearing our Christmas finest to our new Easter outfits.
What we miss in between is everything Jesus taught and touched. We miss him feeding the multitude, telling the story of the Prodigal Son and turning over of the tables of the money-changers. We miss the whole reason the powerful wanted him dead. As Nadia Bolz-Weber says, “There is no dirt under the nails of the resurrected Christ because we’ve had to clean him up to look more impressive at Easter.” When we do that we miss the whole point of God’s story. We miss what is expected of us.
Easter has very little to do with what it has become. Easter was a messy, mind-blowing event. Some people ran away too frightened to speak of it. Some returned to their old jobs. Some couldn’t believe what they saw. Some were changed forever.
As you prepare yourself for Easter this year, I invite you to take the whole journey. See his life, his teachings, and what these things have to do with your life. See the way he died. Imagine the resurrected Christ who was mistaken for the gardener. What new thing do you see? What new call do you hear?