Formerly 'Rambling with a cantankerous old mule"
I just googled the term “images of Easter”. The top 50 results thrown back at me included eggs, fluffy bunnies, bunnies hugging eggs, flowers, jelly beans, the Easter Island heads … and four images of Jesus and the cross.
Next I went to History.com and Wikipedia where I searched for “The history of Easter.” Both said pretty much the same thing, but let me quote the opening sentence from the History.com article: “Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday.“
Christianity’s most important holiday.
I’ve enjoyed a few easter eggs these past few weeks, I’ve had a fair number of hot cross buns too, and will probably go around to my sister’s place tomorrow to watch the kids searching for even more eggs in the garden. But at 1am this morning I sat in bed and wept – wept as I’m sure Jesus often wept – for the lost, the broken and the hurting. I wept at my self-centredness.
I looked at pictures of Malagasies, who used to be my neighbours and friends, who have so little hope, so little to live for, and I wept. I watched a video from a little Christian school in a Mongolian slum; read a 16-year-old American girl’s blog about how her family recently adopted four Ethiopian children because they could not ignore the need any longer … and I wept.
This morning I sit in church with a handful of other Christians celebrating this life, death and resurrection of Jesus – the One I believe took our sin upon his sinless self to reconcile us to God. Jesus is not very popular in today’s modern world, just like He largely wasn’t popular when He lived.
The majority of the world rejects Him still; they angrily rail against him and His believers, just like they did in His day. (Or even worse, they shrug their shoulders and dismiss him as irrelevant in our modern world.) They sneer at flawed Christians; point fingers at how imperfectly these followers of Jesus live. In our sophisticated, selfish, inward-looking little lives there is no place for one like Jesus, or the hope He promises. We put our hope in money, and technology; knowledge and psycho-therapy; religion even. We mock Jesus, call him names, say he may have been a moral teacher but nothing more … I love how C.S. Lewis, famous for his Narnia series put it:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
The song we so often sing in church goes, “Jesus I believe in you, Jesus I belong to you. You’re the reason that I live. You’re the reason that I sing, with all I am … into your hand I commit again, with all I am for you Lord…” If I believe this song, then I have to believe too that just as it cost him his life it will cost me my life too.
George Müller, Christian evangelist and director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England (where he cared for over 10 000 orphans in the 1800s) apparently said, “There was a day that I died, utterly died, died to George Müller and his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval and censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved to God.”
I realise that this belief I have in Jesus as Lord and Saviour will cost me all – as I care more for others, open my home and life, give my hard-earned cash, defy comfort and convenience, give up control of my future and recognise my greed. Because what we give is but tiny compared to what He gave.
What point is there holding so tightly to my stuff, or trying to protect all I have? It truly is better to give than to hoard and there is much joy in giving…
This is Easter. In my world.
(I may lose readers after this post. If I do, that’s okay, because I needed to write this. It is impossible to keep quiet. I cannot apologise for what I believe.)