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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Meaning of Resurrection

I am always amazed when people show up to worship on Easter morning. (Actually, I am amazed people show up to worship at ANY time...) What about Easter has people getting up in the morning and going to church?

Some people have suggested to me that they want to be with their "families," which given the cultural attitudes latent in our society means "Mom makes us go." I suppose that is possible, but Mother's Day is just 3 weeks after Easter, and how many moms have the credibility and influence to pull off that twice in such a short span?

Some people suggest that Easter is an American cultural thing, and that may be so, but it certainly pales in comparison to Christmas Eve. I mean, I can think of a half-dozen famous movies that involve Christmas, and I can't think of one that involves Easter. Even atheists celebrate Christmas. Not so much for Easter I suspect. (It is true, Easter has the Easter Bunny, but again, Santa? No contest.) No, I have trouble believing people go to Easter worship because their moms make them or our culture says it's the thing to do. No, it seems to me if you come to worship on Easter, especially if you don't go to worship very often, you come because you wish the story were true.

Jesus got up. That's how Methodist preacher Will Willamon talks about Easter. We want to get up to, and not just from death, but from all the stuff that has got us down. We want to be healthier, have more money, have more free time, have more laughter, have more celebrations, have more lovers, have more everything good and less of everything bad. Easter, unlike the Monday that comes after, or the Friday that came before, has more of the good, and less of the bad. Easter is the one day a year where Christians are honest about the fact that crazy shit happens...Jesus got up.

Most of the days of our lives roll by with a stultifying predictability that is comfortably numb. The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is neither predictable nor numbing. He has to live AGAIN. I mean, he was dead, he didn't have to show up at the office the next day, and then he went and got up...did he go back to work? Easter is the day we can dream that live can be--will be--different. God did an amazing thing with Jesus, and promises to do amazing stuff with us as well. So we show up on Easter to pray and wonder and sing on how our lives should be different, but probably won't be...but they can be...And that's why the resurrection is important. Jesus doesn't promise that you will not die, but he does promise you will changed, and live forever. And at least one day a year that is enough.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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