Easter is a love song: a sacred tune to woo the beloved. It is a persistent melody that beckons an eternal dance. For those who say yes to the dance, Easter becomes “our song.” Yet to those who resist, the song is tiresome, overly sentimental, a foolish distraction to the realities of living.
Easter is a rescue mission: a way of escape. We were bound. We were trapped by the fruit of our own reckless sensuality. As we sought meaning, we acquired. As we acquired, the meaninglessness grew. We were buried beneath the pursuits of our flesh. We were entombed in that which rusts, corrodes, and fades away.
Easter speaks to this grave. Easter says come forth, come out, and come into the light. For those of us who have said yes to Easter, it is freedom’s anniversary. For those who have yet to say yes, Easter is a false hope, a looking glass mythology, a crutch for the naive. Or maybe Easter has just become someone else or somewhere else or sometime other than now.
Sometimes when I preach the Easter story, I feel like an old man telling far too familiar stories to wearisome dinner guests. I speak and I am tolerated. However, their gaze says it all. We’ve heard this story a thousand times grandpa. There is nothing new in this, nothing to be gained. We will tolerate your telling, we will honor
the story’s sentimental value. We will once again feign attention, but we will not listen. There are better stories in the room, new stories, ones we have not yet heard.
Every Easter service I am filled with mixed emotions. The room is full of so many stories. As I scan the congregation I see an awkward mix of joy and apathy, contentment and restlessness, smiles and cold
blank stares. The diversity of the room is staggering. The reasons for entering the room are as nuanced as the people who occupy the seats.
Some arrive in church through the power of obligation, others are motivated by a spirit of appreciation. Some shine bright and glorious, others look as if their sorrow has a measurable weight. Regardless, they are all beautiful and it is my right to say this … every one of them is beautiful.
But you would expect this from the old man. Here he goes again talking about love, beauty and favor. The old story of death and resurrection. Once again, he’ll tell us that God loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Christ Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.
And, of course, he’ll also tell us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That no one is righteous, not even one. Except for Jesus Christ. For Christ has become our righteousness. And yes, the pastor will once again tell us the old man story. This Easter … this perpetual Easter Sunday, he will once again offer us the gift of life.
I believe in Easter. The beautiful love song, the glorious rescue plan. The precious gift of love and life. This is my story and I shall tell it all the days of my life. And I will search the crowd intently and I will look for someone willing to be rescued. For there is nothing I’d rather do than serve my savior on Easter. For Easter
is the day of salvation.
Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 6 p.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or email@example.com.