How many of you sang that Adele song in your head when you read the title of this post? It actually took me a second to realize what I had even done. Oh well. I kept it.
So usually I publish a new blog post every two weeks, but today is a bonus post!
Today is Easter. But this Easter is different from all others in my life. Because while others are sitting in a church somewhere, doing their Christian Easter thing, I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing a blog post.
I was thinking about it earlier, and this is the first Easter I’ve not been one of those people in a church somewhere. At least as far back as I can remember. Even when my family didn’t attend church when I was a kid, they still made us all go to church on Easter.
I’ve decided to write a post about what I’ve learned or observed this time around. So here it is.
1. The World Keeps Going
While everyone goes to church for Easter, the rest of the world goes on with their day like its a normal day. Because, without the religious emphasis, it is a normal day, isn’t it? Is there something inherently special about today that the rest of the world should be made aware of? Is there something everyone is missing? Christians would say yes.
A year ago I wrote a post for Easter, one which I still whole-heartedly believe in. But my perspective has changed a bit. How does one both believe in the liturgy, authority, and power of the Church, and yet have no desire to be in a church ever again? Its a difficult struggle for me.
I’m currently listening to people all around me talking about their Easter plans. Egg hunts, extravagant meals, bunnies, candy and such. Its been so long since I’ve considered Easter outside of a Christian context that I had forgotten how people choose to celebrate such a day. It seems a little weird and pointless. I’m all for good meals on any day. But celebrating a day that is primarily about a giant monster bunny laying eggs filled with goodies for children just seems odd. Why celebrate at all at that point? But I digress…
2. Jesus Should Be More Than A Day
Alright so I have to say it: Christians, more often than not, fail at exemplifying a life of following the teaching, love, and life of Christ. American Christianity has become this terrible thing where it’s more important to show up on Sunday morning that it is to love people and serve the less fortunate. It’s more important to make sure your family is at a church on Easter morning dressed in your best, than it is to teach your children about respecting others, being selfless, and loving your enemies.
In America, Jesus has been reduced to a day or two here or there. Many people attend church on Christmas Eve and Easter. Others hit up the occasional Sunday morning on top of that. Then you have the really dangerous folk who are there every time the doors are open, but forget people exist outside of the church walls. If Jesus is just for today, then you’ve missed the point. If Easter is about dressing up, getting a free breakfast, and showing up at the service, then you’ve missed the point.
And dare I say that if Easter is merely about being in a room with like-minded people, taking communion together, singing some nice songs about the Cross, an empty grave, and a risen Jesus, and it ends there…Then you’ve still missed the point.
3. Pagans vs. Christians
I literally just saw a girl offer to move so an older gentlemen had the comfy chair. Before that, I saw someone let another person cut in front of them in line because it was hard for them to stand. I’ve seen people hold doors open for other people, and someone help another pick up some dropped books and papers. All of that was just in this coffee shop in the last hour.
Do you want to know the biggest difference I’ve noticed since leaving the church? I trust the good intentions of people who don’t go to church more than the people who do.
It sounds strange, but if you think about it, people who are kind to others just for the sake of being kind just seem more genuine. I think its because Christians have forgotten what it means to be genuine. Christianity has become the sleezy car salesman always trying to sell you something. Its hard to trust the good intentions of someone who is either being kind to you because they feel like they are supposed to, or being kind because they have ulterior motives to try and convert you into a member of their church, or being kind for now, but could turn into a hateful hellion as soon as you disagree with their beliefs. None of that is ok, or biblical.
My problem with being in church came when I realized no one seems to ask what Jesus would be doing if He were here today. I don’t mean those corny bracelets that were big in the 90s. I mean really asking the question. You know what I think Jesus would be doing right now?
I think while everyone else is in the “temple” worshipping and partaking in the Easter traditions, Jesus would be under a bridge, serving food to the homeless, eating with them, and telling them stories and laughing with them. I think He would be in the shelters helping clothe the naked, or in the soup kitchen helping feed the hungry. I think he might even be in this coffee shop. I think he’d sit right in the middle of everyone here, look us all in the eyes and tell us that we are loved, that God sees us and knows us. I think He’d be sitting across from me at this table in the corner of the room, telling me to stop typing, because He has some people he wants me to meet, something really cool to show me, and a story He wants to tell.