Are We Selling it Short?

It’s Good Friday and, since this is a religious blog, I thought I should write about something remotely connected to the day. I struggled long and hard to come up with an original idea, one that someone else hadn’t addressed more eloquently than I. That’s not an easy task, as I don’t consider myself  particularly eloquent. The problem is, there’s not a lot of original ground left when it comes to the Christian faith. When you think about it, anything I might say is just a rehash of what my rabbi said 2000 years ago. Really, I’m not even coming up new ways to look at things. The radical discipleship I write about most days isn’t new, it’s what Jesus’ followers were doing before the Church even existed. At best, I’m pulling old ideas off the shelf and trying to dress them up for a modern audience. One of those ideas is what happened just outside the city walls of Jerusalem one Passover.

No one actually knows the  exact spot Jesus met his fate that day. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have a vested interested in maintaining that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the spot; pilgrimages are great moneymakers. Then, of course, you have the Protestant nay sayers who claim that’s not the place and, of course, they know the real truth. But, really, does it matter? Sure, it would be nice to know; but even if we never find the correct location, that won’t change things. Jesus still went willing to the most gruesome death imaginable in his time. Which, of course, brings up the argument about what that death meant. And, it’s a doozy.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into a long ramble about atonement theory. That would take way too long and I’d probably get it wrong. But, one thing I’ve noticed over the years is the way some people sell the Easter story short. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins”. I know they don’t do it on purpose, but in saying that, they completely ignore what happened two days later. Without the Resurrection, what happened that Friday would have the execution of just another crazy-ass Jewish holy man.

Another way the Resurrection gets the shaft in our culture is the way we view it. Christians view resurrection as something they’ll be a part of, which is true. The problem comes in when you start talking about the timeframe. Most people think we’ll be resurrected at the end of days when Jesus comes back and all the “real” Christians get raptured up to heaven. Unfortunately, that has no basis in either reality or the Bible. That interpretation (dispensationalism) was unheard of until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Instead of waiting for something that’s not going to happen, why not look around and realize people are being resurrected every day. Whenever someone pulls their lives out the mess that it has become, they’ve been resurrected. When an alcoholic or drug addict finally decides to confront their demons and stop committing slow suicide, they’ve been resurrected. When an abused woman finally says no more and leaves her abuser, she’s been resurrected. And, when we finally give up our selfishness and start being at least as concerned for our brothers and sisters as we are about ourselves, we are resurrected. As far as I’m concerned, that beats the hell out waiting.