So… Easter always puts me in an odd mood. Note that it has taken four days for me to talk myself down out of stated mood enough to write a post about it. When I mention this fact to other Christians, I get asked questions like, “What? Don’t you want to celebrate your salvation?” Or possibly just a wide-eyed slightly terrifying victory call of, “HE IS RISEN!” To which I must bite my tongue in order to stop myself from replying, “yes. I’ve known that since before I ever gave my life to him. Getting so fanatically excited about that fact makes about as much sense to me as choosing a single day of the year to celebrate loving your spouse. Do it ALL THE TIME. They are ALWAYS there, you don’t need an EXCUSE to get excited about it. Only having one day of the year that you DO celebrate them makes it seem more like obligation and peer pressure than genuine desire.”
But I hold my tongue, at least for the remainder of the day, because it seems rude to do otherwise.
Then I talk myself down out of my fugue, and I’ve got to ask myself why I got so far up into it in the first place. Here’s the thing: Yes, He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed. But what does that really mean to us? Now, I’m going to sum up years of NT Wright’s finest work in a few short paragraphs. Please note that while NT Wright has explained to me far more about what I’ve always believed than I could have ever understood on my own, this is not solely my scholarly work or opinion. Vast tomes have been written on the subject, and you should buy them. (Link)
In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Creation fell away from it’s original glory. Not just Male and Female, but all creation. There came a separation, a disconnect. All things were bent from their purpose. The ground, the fields, the male and female- they were all cursed. And from that moment, the Biblical narrative tells the story of a God that will stop at nothing to see all things redeemed. Please, note here that I am not saying you and I only- I am emphatically stating that ALL things need redemption. Creation itself is calling out to its creator.
Just look at this:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:22)
There’s a big emotional impact to saying, “Jesus suffered all of this for YOU!” One cannot discount the awe and wonder invoked when a preschool lesson ends with, “and who is the person who God did all of this for? Let’s look!” to the unveiling of a mirror, and the knowledge that we all matter intensely to God. But I think that as powerful (and true) as such dramatic statements are, they discount an aspect of our faith that is accutely necessary.
All of creation has been groaning.
On the first day, God created.
On the sixth day, Jesus died.
The seventh day there is silence…
Then comes a new day, a risen Christ, the redemption of creation.
But what does it mean?
See, this is what I want Easter to be about. Not about me, and my needs, and my salvation, and the sinner’s prayer. I want it to be about the Kingdom of God. About us being the hands and feet of the body. About our work to continue what the early church started. Spreading redemption. Not through pamphlets and the sinner’s prayer and passion plays, but through real, quantifiable actions. Through feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, holding up the heads of the oppressed, fighting injustice, spreading equality.
Salvation is NOT simply about eternity. It is about living out the new creation in our own lives. Being “born again”, being changed beings. And if we do not see the fruits of that change in our lives we judge ourselves lacking. Judge the vine by what it produces. If I am redeemed, I will leave the fingerprints of God’s work in my life on every single thing I do. My art will breathe life. My work will breathe life. My writing will breathe life. If this is not the case for all of us, there are serious questions to ask.
And, in my mind, what better time to ask them than on Easter?
Celebrate your salvation every single day. And when the time comes to build a monument to it, to be reminded of it, what better thing to do than to issue a call to return to our higher purpose? To be the creation that God intended us to be?