I’ve written about some pretty grimy stuff in my blog. Just take a look at the last post where I droned on about my general anxiety disorder. I try, I really do try to give my blog an upward swing by the end. And for the most part, that’s not that hard to do. Mostly, because that’s what I believe, but also, that’s the narrative arc of the Christian message. Or better still, I believe it because it is the Christian message. Everything starts out pretty good, perfect even, then things get screwed up or even ruined because someone has a personality disorder or because there’s a talking snake in the backyard, and then the bulk of your life is spent trying to balance out the horrible, helter-skelter rigmarole with fleeting moments of happiness and joy. The good news of the Christian message is that in the end, we’ll finish where we started, back in paradise with the innocence and naiveté of children. Paradise is the surrender of adulthood. Responsibility be gone.
If you’re like me, that all sounds pretty nice but not a lot of help right now, not in the thick of things. Today Jesus is dead. We can’t believe it happened. He was the Christ. The Savior. The One to deliver. How can our Jesus abandon us to death?
Picking out one Christian holiday out of the year to be your favorite is like picking out a single note in a symphony and saying, “Yes, that one; that’s my favorite.” A single note doesn’t make sense unless it is with the company of others. But I almost want to make an exception for Holy Saturday.
What’s my point? We’ve all known perpetually happy people. And maybe even a few of these “happy” people are genuine. (God bless them.) The rest of us, though, post misleading, happy pictures and selfies on Facebook and Instagram – how we present ourselves to the real world is a farce.The most insincere question you can ask someone is, “How are you doing?”
Whether it is our home life, money problems, our marriage, our kids, cable news addiction, or work or illness, disease, hurts, depression, or whatever other real-world lacerations we’ve acquired, our reality is such that we can barely see paradise. We don’t ask if Christ will rise again. We don’t plan on a sunrise service. Our Christ is dead; today our God is dead.
And you know what, that’s the way I want to keep today. This spiritually myopic, heavy-burdened, emotionally troubled life seems a good deal more genuine than Pharrell William’s Happy.
Here come bad news, talking this and that
(Yeah) Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back
(Yeah) Well, I should probably warm you’ll I’ll be just fine
(Yeah) No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Because I’m happy.
So here we are. Holy Week is about finished. Today Christ is dead. But that’s not how the week started. Everything seemed to start out pretty good. Jesus comes into town, celebrated as a miracle worker, a powerful teacher, a compassionate leader who cares for the poor and oppressed. And of course, he died a terrible death yesterday.
On Saturday we (mostly) hide eggs and play with bunnies and baby chicks and we sing the happy song because we can give it all and not hold back, and the façade of happiness is so powerful that an upper room, a bloody prayer, a betrayal, public mockery, an execution, and a dead savior can be safely ignored. No offense to you, don’t waste your time…Because I’m happy.
This is the holy week I am bored with. Sure, we know salvation is coming. We know that the Son will rise in the morning. But why is it that that act of faith cancels out the grieving due our savior’s death? Today is not a day for children’s celebration. It isn’t the day for child-like wonder. Why would I willingly sacrifice Christ’s affinity with my pain and my death to hunt for eggs? Today is the day to remember that our hopelessness and despair is shared with our dead Christ. You can only be elated by the resurrection if you are devastated death.
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