Happy Easter Monday! In my tradition we celebrate Easter on a Sunday, but there are others that observe Easter Monday.
In all honesty, I’ve grown very cynical about the church and Christians over the past 10 years. When I look at what I’ve seen in Christians and in the church, I’d grown cynical and negative. When I see Christians in America engage in consumerism, pastors from their pulpits attacking the poor and the oppressed and applauding military power I wonder what happened to the Christ-centered living? Sermon on the Mount Ethic? I feel cynical and discouraged. When I hear Christians talk about circling the wagons and pushing those who are far from God further away. I feel cynical. The message of Holy Week is that cynicism isn’t just part of the human condition, we are called to recognize it and call it out. Because in the Jesus story, cynicism is a part of it.
The cynicism of Good Friday.
Recently I read an article pointing out the cynicism of Good Friday. It was interesting that it wasn’t the atheists that took down Jesus, but it was the religious leaders working in collusion with the government. Today, nothing makes people more cynical to Christian spirituality than when it is wedded with political ambition. Often, the two have diverging purposes. The political sphere is a quest for power that wants to transform the individual and society through external measures. While Christian Spirituality is about humility and seeing people and the world transformed through humility. In our time, a cynical time, where we are always sarcastic and caustic. Where we are always asking what the catch is, it is encouraging to know that cynicism is part of the gospel story. It’s ok to have a Good Friday view of the world…that it’s broken, contradictory and at times discouraging.
The Tension of Holy Saturday.
Cynicism is not only for Friday, but follows us into Saturday. We are left to sit in the tension of it all. Jesus is dead and buried in the ground. The hope of the world is gone. Leaving behind a group of fearful fishermen, worthless women, and potentially dark days ahead of them. The Christians are in hiding from the religious leaders and political authorities. However, there is a better world for them, but they don’t know it yet. Another world that they can enter and participate in. A world that they can access through the cynicism of Good Friday. Eventually the cynicism breaks in the hope of Resurrection. The Hope of New Creation.
Easter Hope is New Creation.
Cynicism gives way to Resurrection. Cynicism unmasks the places where we’ve had false hopes. It unmasks false belief, fears that drive us and divide us. What Easter says is, “Death can’t hold me. I make all things new.” And that is what happens! Resurrection sends a shockwave throughout the created order, that death no longer has the last word. Rather Jesus is the first born of the dead, and now we can all follow Him. And join Him in the restoration of all things. I can’t get into it all now, NT Wright has an incredible book about this idea, that God is asking you and me to join Him in making ALL THINGS NEW! The hope of Easter is that the cynic becomes the sage. That through death we can come to life, LIFE TO THE FULL!