I was asked to write an article for our local newspaper that will be published next week leading up to Easter. I thought I would do a sneak preview here. Let me know what you think.
This Sunday is Easter. Being in my profession this means I’m pretty excited about this weekend. We’ll have more people at church than any Sunday of the year, the atmosphere will be electric, and everyone is thinking about Jesus. In my world, that’s a pretty great day!
But Easter is more than a holiday and it’s more than a day to go to church. Don’t get me wrong holidays are great and I happen to think going to church is pretty great too. What I mean is, the story. I love stories don’t you?
The problem is that we often put our own spin on any story we come across; especially Bible stories. Perhaps its because many of us heard Bible stories when we were kids so we think we know them or because it’s supposed to be God’s book so we think all the characters will be perfect and therefore we can’t relate to them or maybe it’s because we don’t believe in God and that just eliminates the value of the story altogether. Regardless of the reasoning we all come with a bias, me included.
I wonder if it might serve us well to surrender some of our preconceived notions about this ancient book and just let the story tell itself this Easter. If we did that maybe…
…Peter’s denial of Christ in his hour of need wouldn’t just be about a bumbling buffoon but more a picture of our own human frailty.
…Perhaps Judas’ betrayal could teach us that we’re all prone to selfishness and greed without God’s grace.
…Mary might be a hint at the faithfulness of a mother.
…John standing at the cross as the only disciple not to run away when the chips were down could help us see what real friendship looks like.
…Then there’s Jesus, who after declaring to the world, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” gives his life for all of us.
Maybe just maybe this story could show us that our concepts of God as a judgmental, legalistic, perverse warmongering, narrow-minded, dictator are not quite as accurate as we thought they were. Maybe he’s not a heavy-handed father waiting to drop the metaphorical hammer on our lives the next time we make a mistake. Perhaps the prophet was right when he said…
He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
This year let’s let the Easter story speak to us rather than deciding we already know it or allowing someone else’s preconceived notions determine how we view God. Maybe we could get beyond the religious view of God and just see Jesus in his purest and simplest form, loving you and me just like we are. Because when you really see Jesus, your story changes.