"Happy Easter" the stranger said as he greeted dozens of families at a hockey tournament. Sounds so nice and polite, so sanitized. "Happy Easter" is what a couple of parents said to me as we all left our dinner party and headed to our hotel rooms. Happy Easter. "Easter" is the title of all kinds of photo albums on Facebook depicting little ones and their 'second Christmas' of the year. Happy Easter. "Got the kids a puppy for Easter" was another post I read online. Happy Easter. "What is your favorite part of Easter" I asked my own kids. "Candy" was their answer. My God where have I gone wrong? Where have we gone wrong? Happy Easter.
For he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed.
Happy Easter. An innocent man was murdered. He claimed to be the Christ and after death, rose again. While we have claimed that Jesus is the only way, truth and life, we have mingled the common with the holy. We have done so as an attempt to make the taste of Christianity more palletable to non-believers. Have we really remembered the significance of what Christ did? Do we really commemorate it and if so, how? With eggs? Chocolate? Bunnies? Bonnets? Have believing parents discussed the scriptures with our children? Have we opened the pages of holy writ, read it to them, questioned them and reiterated the truth we hold dear or have we reliquished this holy time to the infiltration of counterfeits?
The only way to commemorate 'Easter' is with the cross and I don't mean by displaying one. I mean, and spiritually, getting on one. This symbol of death does not look good or make us feel good. It should make us feel uncomfortable. It reminds us to put to death the deeds of the flesh, something we've forgotten in North American Christianity. It reminds us of the wages of sin. It reminds us of our human condition and the need for a savior. There no place for fun and games at the cross...it's all business; God's business. He's in the business of judging sin and giving grace and that's exactly what he did when Christ became sin and God's wrath was satisfied on that day.
It's a solemn occasion when someone dies. It's a special occasion when someone gives you a gift. "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life" are the very crux of what happened on that first 'Easter'. Do we understand the deep meaning behind all of this?
May you experience the deep appreciation of knowing sins are forgiven and the liberty of God's grace while never forgetting what had to happen to make it all possible.