Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easter: For Daily Use

First of all, a little personal boast: My wife gave birth to our son two weeks ago, and in my objective, unbiased opinion, he's the cutest thing yet created. Check him out on our personal blog.

As it turns out giving birth can be a painful ordeal. So between that, and our dog losing a fight with the neighbor dog last week, a small corner of our kitchen counter has been taken over by prescription medications. To be honest, I get a little nervous around prescription medications. I suppose it comes from a childhood full of brainwashing with the "say no to drugs" campaign. But these drugs, even though they're the good kind, are still pretty powerful stuff, and I don't want to mess anything up. They have such detailed instructions: Take with food, Do not take with food, Take with water, Do not take with grape juice, etc. I tend to read over the labels many times, just to make sure I'm doing it right. The most common instruction on prescription meds is to not stop taking your medicine until you run out.

Last week I applied some Easter to my life. It's pretty powerful stuff too, and I applied it not a moment too soon. Because some of you may not be up to date on the instructions for applying Easter, let me catch you up...

Easter for Yearly Use: it may play second fiddle to Christmas in the modern imagination, but for Christians Easter is the best holiday of the year. During the week leading up to Easter, together with its attendant holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, we have the opportunity to go through the whole range of emotions. We celebrate Jesus' kingship in his ironic donkey ride into the city. We let him teach us, wash us, and serve us, for if he does not, we have no part in him. We feel the agony and see the humility on Good Friday, wait in eager expectation, and celebrate cosmic victory on Sunday morning. This is reality, this is life, this is the best thing in the world, as we renew the hope to which we are called.

Easter for Weekly Use: once a year is not nearly often enough to celebrate (and apply) Easter. So we do it weekly. The reason the first Christians gathered for worship on Sunday, rather than on the Sabbath like the rest of Judaism, was because Jesus the messiah had been raised from the dead on a Sunday. They worshiped in the morning because that is when the tomb had been found to be empty. So every Sunday is in fact a commemoration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Easter is the first day of the week, the beginning of the new creation. Every Sunday we are reminded that in Jesus God is renewing the world, in Jesus God has begun his final redemption of his creation. Our Sunday morning worship is an outpost of the new creation, God's redeemed humanity, a community of life formed by the resurrection of Jesus, meeting in the midst of the old world which is passing away.

Easter for Daily Use: truly though, in order for Christians to stay totally healthy, Easter must be applied daily. Easter is the message that Jesus was put to death for our trespasses, and raised for our justification. I admit that my day-to-day conscious identity focuses mainly on my identity as a person, what I do, how I look, how I relate to people, how many people like me, etc. Left untreated, this is a condition that can easily lead to despair. Instead, my identity should be formed by who I am in Christ. Apply a generous dose of Easter thusly: God demonstrates his love for me in this, while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I am loved by God. Jesus came and lived a perfect life on my behalf, died a substitutionary death for me, and was raised to life victoriously. By faith I am united to Christ, and so my identity is as a saint, loved by God, having the righteousness of Christ, enjoying eternal life, fellowship with God, and all of my sins are forgiven. That is who I am. Who are you?

The most important thing is that you keep applying the healthful salve every day until you run out (never). Let Easter do its healing work...

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." -Psalm 32:1

1 comment:

Bill Tell said...

good post Jeff!
dad