The Resurrection I’ve Seen

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Today was Easter.  Easter is a big deal.  We make a big deal of Easter.

It isn’t a big deal to a lot of people.  Easter for some people is no more than a day of candy, and for others it isn’t even that.  It’s just a day.

What’s the difference between Easter being a big deal and just a day?

There are a lot of easy answers to that question:

Knowing Jesus.

Being raised in a Christian culture.

Hearing the Gospel.

Intersecting with someone who has experienced God.

Experiencing God’s Spirit.

Being indoctrinated in the Christian faith.

 

The way you answer that question–or the answer you would pick from that list–probably indicates something about your relationship with Easter, as well.


 

Easter is Resurrection Day.  We make this the biggest day of the year, bigger than Christmas or Pentecost, because what we believe about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and ourselves and the world all hinges on this day.  They all hinge on the historical event that did or did not happen for which we claim this day.

A friend of mine who is a Christian told me recently, “I wonder if I believe this because I was raised with it.”  I think that’s a fair question to ask.  I don’t think it invalidates Christianity, but it is reasonable to consider whether, if you or I were raised in a Muslim country with four Christians among ten million people, would we have heard the Gospel?  Would we be Christians?

 If I’m honest, I then have to ask if I am the most difficult part of being a Christian for some other people.

The most difficult part, for me, of being a Christian is other Christians.  I will say that straight out.  If I’m honest, I then have to ask if I am the most difficult part of being a Christian for some other people.  I might be.  Sometimes I don’t believe what they believe or speak like they speak. Continue reading

Fighting for Hope: Fear, Naive Faith, and Trusting God Even When…

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Let’s be honest.  Not honest but self-protective.  Let’s just actually say it.

I don’t know if it’s going to work.

Pick which “it” I mean.  Raising my children so that they live peaceably in their own skin.  Having kids I can be proud I had a hand in parenting.  Looking back at their years of living in my house and knowing I did well by them.

Am I going to do something with my life?  Not just pass through.  Live.  Suck the marrow, blow every speck of gunpowder, make a contribution, leave something worth claiming?

Will it matter that I was here?

We’re afraid and we try to cushion against that fear with comfort.  Comfort foods and comfortable habits, routines that protect us from looking at our naked selves.  Distractions and entertainments.  Not bad in themselves, but when we use them as anesthesia…

There are darker questions, too.  My dad was chronically ill for the last twenty-five years of his life…which means it started when he was younger than I am now.  What if the mental illness…?  Some people live in the “knowledge” that only other people’s children get sick, or get in accidents, or die.  They would never say this out loud, but they live that way.  I’ve had that illusion shattered, and the pieces never went back together.

“But,” some might ask, “what about your faith?  Don’t you trust God?”

I’m giving that question the big smile, the one I set on my face in lieu of ripping tonsils out.

I trust God.  I’ve chosen a life that, in some significant and tangible ways, relies on God’s faithfulness or else.  Or else we’re not okay.  I’m not boasting.  I’m just distinguishing between what I trust God to do (and protect against) and the rest. Continue reading