Before you break out the hammer and nails to crucify me, take a second to see if you agree with some of the things that I attempt to elucidate in this post. When you’re done reading, if I’m successful, maybe you’ll share my sentiments.
With the recent passing of the Easter season, I contemplated extending an apology to all of my readers for not submitting a trite Easter post. The type of post that says:
Hey everyone, Easter is here. Now go to church to check the “Easter” checkbox.
Well, I thought about the apology and I changed my mind. Although me not posting wasn’t intentional, I’m somewhat pleased it worked out that way. To be perfectly honest, the more I think about what we’ve turned Easter into, the more I realize that I don’t like it very much for the following reasons:
- Misplaced Motives
- Habitual Hypocrisy
- Easter Ends
You may be able to relate to my stroll down Memory Lane here. My earliest recollections of Easter were going shopping with my mother to get a new suit and a new pair of shoes. I would spend all day in the barber shop (hated it) getting a fresh Easter haircut so that I could look like a million bucks when I stood in front of the church to recite my Easter speech. Easter to me was more about a flawless look and performance than about celebrating new life in Christ. My motives were misplaced. Of course, when I grew up and accepted Christ personally, I realized what Easter was all about. My motives and methods for celebrating Easter totally changed. Easter became personal. Jesus willingly suffered and died in my place before I even had the ability to know or understand that I needed Him. Jesus subjected himself to the pangs of death. He loved me so much that even though I deserved eternal death, Christ intercepted that judgment and died once so that I could live forever. All of a sudden, the new suits and new shoes lost their luster when compared to Christ’s love for me (Thank You, Jesus).
I’m afraid many people still have misplaced motives when celebrating Easter. This is a systemic epidemic within the church. The message of the cross has been grossly abused, and we as an assembly have failed to convey and reproduce the power that is innate in its pure, unadulterated delivery. The message of the cross is designed to initiate change in us. Crucifixion was by far the harshest form of punishment dealt by the Roman government. Even for the guilty, it was inhumane. Within that framework, Jesus was led like an innocent lamb to the slaughter to pay a debt that He did not owe, and one that we could not pay. The thought alone elicits an onerous emotion within us, thereby causing within us repentance, reverence, and ultimately right relationship.
Another problem I have with how we handle Easter is the hypocrisy that always rises to the surface. Hypocrisy takes on many forms, all of which stem from one main motivation:
To appear to be someone that you’re not
The word hypocrite derives its context from the illustration of an actor who wears a mask in a stage play. I think it’s safe to say that we have all indulged in our fair share of hypocrisy at some point. However, I would like to cast some light on a very specific type. We all know people who don’t necessarily have church attendance as a priority on their to-do list. Interestingly enough, an incredible phenomenon takes place every year on Easter Sunday as sanctuaries across the nation are packed to the max for an impressive display of liturgical pageantry. Everyone shows up with their masks erected and dressed to impress. We all know and have witnessed what happens when you try to find these same people the other 51 Sundays of the year (they’re nowhere to be found). I don’t have as much of an issue with this type of hypocrisy as I do with the next type that I’ll explain now.
It seems the people who attend church regularly, carry a different disposition, which I still categorize as hypocrisy. In a nutshell, it’s the proverbial, “holier than thou” attitude. I can’t emphasize how much I detest this type of hypocrisy. The deception associated with this mentality says, “I attend church regularly, therefore I’m closer to God than you are.” These people think regular church attendance alone is somehow gives them a special status with God. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, this type of hypocrisy was the attitude that fueled the people responsible for killing Jesus. They were so blinded by their own hypocrisy that they totally misjudged Jesus, because He didn’t arrive in the pretty “Messiah” package they were expecting.
Hypocrisy causes a blindness of sorts. If you’ve ever worn a mask, you know that you lose almost all of your peripheral vision. Therefore, when you operate from a hypocritical platform, you’re operating with limited vision. How can you help others when you can’t see yourself? In Matthew 7: 1-5, Jesus explains how a hypocritical slant can totally distort your perspective:
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
For Christians, celebrating Easter should be a lifestyle. The concept of commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection is vital, however, the celebration should never be limited to one weekend a year. The Resurrection is so much more than that. It’s an invitation to experience the greatest power known to man through a genuine relationship with the risen Lord. When you open your heart to Christ, your perceptions change, and everything becomes brand new according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. When you fall in love with Jesus, and truly walk with Him, you will find reasons every day to celebrate, because it becomes evident that He lives in you. Each day that you wake up, it’s a day of significance. According the Lamentations 2, God’s mercies are brand new each morning, thus proving His great faithfulness. Now that’s a reason to celebrate.
In conclusion, according to Colossians 3, new life in Christ is all about seeking God and discovering new frontiers in Him. By all means, let us continue to commemorate Easter Sunday, by allowing the power thereof to permeate our lives and produce a lifestyle of results.
Let the celebration continue beyond the benediction.
As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.