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The Journey: Easter is about freedom

Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on

                 Spring is a wonderful time of year! The colors and smells are all around us. It also means that Easter is just around the corner. I am a minister with three church services this week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, so that means I am extra busy. However, even through the busyness of life I like to take some time to watch a Bible movie or two. Instead of finding some old favorites like “Jesus Christ Super Star,” “The Ten Commandments,” “The Life of Brian,” or “The Last Temptation of Christ,” I stumbled across the film “Before Sunrise” (1995). This is by no means an Easter movie, but it got me thinking in a new way about the meaning of Easter. It is a romance story that moves slowly as two people meet each other in a European city and spend one day together.

I was touched by the films exploration and tragedy of modern life because the couple talks about the barriers we place around our lives that ultimately limit us. The biggest obstacle to living a free, full and faithful life is all to often ourselves. At one level, that is what the Easter message is all about, being set free from within.

The Ethan Hawke character Jesse, says, “that is why so many people hate themselves. It’s just they are sick to death of being around themselves. You see, I’ve heard all my stories over and over, so I’m sick of myself. But being with you, it’s made me feel like I was somebody else”.

This scene artfully explores the great struggle for freedom in our life. “Wherever you go, there you are.” Or “how can I miss you, if you never go away”. And the person you are trying to get away from is you.

Easter is about FREEDOM! Freedom from living a life of self criticism, loneliness, constant anger. The Easter message is more than just being made a little bit better; it is about being made anew as a beloved child God!

Yes, you are a beloved child of God.

The story of Jesus’ resurrection is about being made anew, and the kicker is that a new life happens in the last place imaginable. The graveyard! The discovery of the empty tomb is the heart of Christian faith.

The Easter message confronts human and spiritual freedom head on by allowing us to enter into the graveyard, the tomb, the place we fear the most. To experience resurrection, new life, we need the aspect of our life that is destroying us to die, albeit spiritual, mental, emotional death, but death needs to happen if we are to have any real possibility and being made anew as a beloved child of God. Often when we talk about resurrection, we really mean resuscitation. Resuscitate me back into the old life that is destroying me.

Understanding the Easter message is not easy, nor is it arrived at by common sense. It is trust against the evidence, risk in the face of the odds that your life, this world, no matter how desperate it is at times, can be made anew by God. Easter is trust that God can bring new life into the darkest and most unimaginable places of our life and world. Easter is the audacious belief that we are not just what the world makes of us.

Easter invites us to live into the mystery, that God is able to create anew and bring life, where otherwise life is not possible. A beautiful aspect of the Easter message is that it doesn’t leave people behind. All of us are invited to into the mystery of resurrection. Man or woman, black or white, old and young, gay or straight. 

The spiritual road to Easter morning is different for all of us. For some, the road to Easter morning is born out of a life crisis. Others will journey to Easter morning with grief on their hearts. Some will journey with gratitude and need to offer thanks. Others are lonely and in need of spiritual renewal. Others will travel out of an immediate and wondrous experience woven into the fabric of their ordinary everyday lives.

What road are you traveling in your life this Easter?

 

Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah.

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