There was a funny Facebook question going around about a year ago: “Describe your job in a funny way without using your title. Mine was, “I talk to people and explain the same book over and over again to people who have read it many times and even own, on average, four copies.” In a way, it sounds like I have a disorder!
This book I love, the Bible, is one most of the women I shepherd love too. I don’t have to try too hard to persuade anyone in my sphere to look to its pages for wisdom, love, comfort, instruction, and even God’s very own voice.
Every Sunday as a body we return to Scripture’s pages for, as 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training.” We also turn to be shown a mighty God saving a rebellious people, finding our own story in its pages. Every week. The same story. The same God. The same rebellious hearts.
At my church we change the colors around the sanctuary as the church calendar changes. Because it is Lent we are hosting purple. On Good Friday the sanctuary and the cross adorned in a purple cloth will change to black — but on Easter morning everything will be in bright white and gold. As someone who is visual, it’s something I look forward to – every new season a new color. It’s hard waiting for Jesus to come back, but the colors remind me that God is on the move — even when I can’t feel it, the Church reminds me.
The black cloth is only up for a short time. It seems before the death of Jesus my Savior sinks in, the white cloth appears Sunday morning. To be clear, that Holy Saturday is a long one. I think we live a lot of life in Holy Saturday – waiting for our Savior to move again. (I have a blog about that here) But Easter Sunday brings a lot of hope and rejoicing.
We’ve been going through the gospel of Luke in one of the small groups I help to facilitate. It’s been a long year, but a good slow look at Luke and digging into a gospel has been challenging to my norms. Jesus makes some bold claims in Luke and it’s hard to face them, if I’m being completely honest. Jesus strips me (us) of every pretense, everything I think I know about how the kingdom of God works, and even my part to play in the whole thing. And we’re getting to the Passion Week in the book just as Easter season is upon us. If anything should shake up our preconceived ideas about what God can, or will do, it’s Easter Sunday.
In a week or two we’ll study Jesus’ resurrection. As someone who has grown up in the church, went to every youth event and group that was offered, and then went to Bible school and to Seminary, and who now works at a church, talking about the resurrection barely phases me. But then I try to explain my faith to another and all of a sudden everything seems as new as the day I first heard it.
Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead! JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD!?! How does this get old? The more I say it the more I’m faced with the audacity of the claim. Easter is a chance to remember what we believe and learn how to share it.
Let’s be honest: let’s say you’re sharing your faith and you get to the resurrection. It’s the only thing that makes our faith viable (1 Cor 15) and it’s showing how God is in the business of restoring everything broken. It’s beautiful and it true – but it doesn’t make it easy to share. Every Easter the worldwide Church declares with one voice, we believe this. Sharing faith is something that allows us to remember this is no ordinary tale. This isn’t a superhero come to save the day story. This isn’t do-good-ism. This isn’t normal. People don’t just rise from the dead. It’s crazy. It’s like it changes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And it did, and it does, and it will continue to. He got out of the grave so we could too. I’m going to let the white and gold colors around the church on Easter next Sunday shock me.