(Originally posted on March 26, 2012)
Today is Ash Wednesday. We are called to contemplate more deeply the life, death, and wondrous Resurrection of Christ.
Knowing what must occur before that glorious day should cause us to tremble – but we’re too busy.
The soon-to-be-revealed and unimaginable love of God for us should bring us to our knees – but we’re too afraid.
The reality of the cross should cause us to beg forgiveness for our sinfulness – but we’ve become desensitized to sin.
We don’t cry out to God because we’re afraid he’ll answer!
And so, for many of us, Easter comes and goes with little more fanfare than any other Sunday.
- While we prepare the menu for an Easter feast, Jesus is preparing for the Last Supper.
- While we scrub the house for guests – Pilate washes his hands of the people’s demand for Jesus’ death.
- While shopping for new outfits – Jesus is stripped, humiliated, and brutally beaten.
- While we look forward to having all the family together again; kids home from college, parents arriving soon – on the long walk to Calvary, Jesus and his mother touch for a moment as their eyes reveal the unspeakable pain of their suffering.
- While we are feeling left to do all the work, and have our annual pity party – Jesus, in his weakened state, struggles with the weight of the cross he carries, alone and abandoned by those who called themselves his disciples.
- While we fuss over last-minute appearances playing beat the clock: taming cowlicks, straightening ties, new shirts without stains, socks that match – Jesus’ face is streaked with blood, and his broken body is no longer recognizable.
Could we even bear to consider what just happened? Jesus, as the Incarnation of God, is the fullest expression of God’s own self. God is relentless, extravagant, merciful, indiscriminate, gratuitous, enduring, and grace-filled Love!
In this most holy season of Easter, we are called to remember and celebrate that Love. But not just that! Jesus never said, “Worship me.” He said, “Follow me. Do what I do.” What difference does it make if we have not changed in some way, if Monday is just business as usual, if we step over our suffering brothers and sisters on our way to more important things?
When did you quit believing in the Easter Bunny?
When did you quit believing the message of the cross and the empty tomb?
One is life-altering; the other is not.