Revelation of Easter

It has been a while, and today wont be a long post.  I’ve been writing papers lately.  And so, I’ve forgotten almost that Easter is here.  And how easy one is able to forget.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been working on a paper the whole morning.  

What a contrast to last year.  Last year, I was in Guatemala, looking at processions that would pass through the streets of Antigua. I observed people working all night through to make carpets with colored saw dust that would be destroyed as soon as the procession past.  I got up at midnight to go watch the re-enactment of Christ’s sentencing.  And I went to see the one tiny procession on Sunday. 

It is so funny how we separate death and resurrection.  This perhaps more so than any other time of the year is uncomfortable.  That is why we form theories, and theologies, and dogmas around the cross.  There is atonement, sanctification, soteriology.  We emphasize the “blood of the lamb” to the point of discomfort and then we try to figure out what the resurrection means in the face of God’s wrath.  Then there is the ever prevalent question of “Did God have to sacrifice his Son?” which inevitably leads to more questioning and to more systematic statements.  Why is it that Jesus becomes so important at Christmas and at Easter? 

Maybe we just like to live in dualism.  “Baby Jesus” and “Lamb of God.”  The in between is only teachable because of the two polar ends that support it.  But here is a thought.  What if these are not the poles that define Christianity.  What if instead the poles are Christ’s life before cross and Christ’s life after resurrection.  What if the cross is not the end but just the midpoint.  Surely, nobody can disagree with that, and yet, “salvation” is on the cross. Not in the new life.

I’ve been fortunate to read Bonhoeffer lately.  And I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  Because for Bonhoeffer, Christ lives… today! He died, and thereby took on the judgment of this world.  And he reconciled the world to God.  But, Christ lives.  He is revealed to us today.  He takes on concrete form in the Church.  Christ lives, because we are to live.  Christ dies because we need to die.  Grace is not some sort of cheap event… Grace is to die, and to rise again in Jesus Christ.  Life is to live in the reality of the world that is reconciled in Jesus Christ even though it does not know it yet.  And Christ lives again in us, because he lived as us… and as a result of that life he died.  The cross for Bonhoeffer is not one event that saved once. It is reality for you and me.  It is the inevitable outcome of a life that takes shape in Christ.  

Today then, I want to remember in gratitude a death that allows me to die.  I want to celebrate but also claim that what we have been give is not simple, it is not a prescription, but it is the call to follow to the Cross. Jesus says my yoke is easy, but it is a yoke, nonetheless. 

I end with my favorite quote from today:

“For indeed it is not written that God became and idea, a principle, a programme, a universally valid proposition or a law, bu that God became [human]”[1]


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, ed. Eberhard Bethge, trans. Neville Horton Smith (New York, NY: McMillan Publsihing Company, 1965), 85.

 

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