An author has wondered: Do we live in an Easter world, or do we live in a Good Friday world? Do we live in a world in which the power of Easter is at work? Or do we live in a world in which Good Friday is still the truth of things?
What is a Good Friday world? It is a world in which fear and indifference and self-interest reign supreme.
It is a world in which politicians, like Pilate before them, wash their hands of responsibility and do only the expedient thing, do whatever keeps them in power and preserves their positions, whatever best serves them – a world in which politicians turn away from truth and do only what the latest polls say will increase their popularity. And it is a world in which religious leaders, like Caiaphas before them, are afraid of the new thing God is working, will even kill the new thing God is doing in order to protect themselves and their institutions – a world in which the church serves itself and preserves itself rather than serving others and giving itself away for love’s sake. It is a world in which the mass of people, like the crowds before them on Good Friday, might feel guilty that an innocent man is put to death but will not protest it – a world in which, as long as the Stock Market is strong and things are going well, the mass of people will not rock the boat. And it is a world in which believers, like Simon Peter before them, go only halfway, are not loyal to Christ and will not risk themselves for his sake – a world in which believers are more loyal to themselves and their purposes than to Christ and his purpose. It is a world in which love and compassion are ridiculed and looking out for Number One is praised.
A Good Friday world is a world in which God is tamed, Christ is locked in a tomb, and the only hope we have is the hope we can muster on our own. It is a world in which people are pretty much what they’ve always been.
So what is an Easter world? It is a world in which courage and love and serving reign.
It is a world in which politicians take responsibility and dare to do the unpopular thing when truth is at stake, in which the church looks for the new thing God is working and is less concerned about building itself up and serving itself than it is about building up communities with hope and serving those who need help and healing, in which the mass of people finally protest the suffering of the innocent and policies that hurt and destroy, a world in which believers are loyal to Christ and risk themselves for his sake, in which love and compassion guide and rule life.
An Easter world is a world in which God is truly Lord over all things, Christ is alive and on the loose, and the hope we have is the hope of the impossible things God can do. It is a world in
which people are transformed.
So which is it? Well, it often seems to be pretty much a Good Friday world. Because for many people the power has been taken out of Easter, and Easter has become little more than a celebration of spring or the reproductive capabilities of chickens. And because for many believers Easter has been confined to what happens only after death and not before death.
But what Easter proclaims is far more than that. It proclaims the power to transform life and us even now. Before all else, Easter has to do with life before death. What the resurrection of Christ worked in the first disciples was life. It made them 10 times the people they were before the resurrection of Christ. And it can do the same for us.
So why is it still a Good Friday world then? Perhaps because it’s still an idle tale for many people as it was for the disciples at first. Perhaps because it’s just too much to believe, too much to
swallow. Or maybe we’re afraid of it. Maybe we’re afraid of what that power will do in us and to us, how it might change us, turn our lives upside down. Maybe we prefer to keep life safe and predictable and controlled and remain 10 times less than what we could be.
But whether we believe it or not, buy it or not, are afraid of it or not, it is true: Christ lives! And there can live within us a power and a life like we’ve never before known or could ever know without him! It is the power Christ has: to put faith and loyalty and strength within us, to put steel in our backbones and good thoughts in our heads and compassion in our hearts, to give us the will to overcome fear and prejudice and build up hope and oneness, to move us to serve, and to bring us alive in the midst of despair and death and all that is wrecked and ruined. The power that sets us free at last to live fully, to be 10 times the people we ever thought we could be!
God has done God’s part. God has done what God promised to do. Now it’s up to us. We can live out a new reality. It can be more than a world in which Easter is observed for one day and then forgotten. It can be an Easter world. A world of hope and healing and gladness as we choose to live in the power of the Risen Christ and allow that power to live in us and transform us.
Let us be such people! Let us be Easter people and live each day in the power of the resurrection and experience 10 times the hope and courage and joy we ever have!
God be with you,