I recently heard someone ranting about how commercialized Easter has become and how there is “no trace of Christ” left in His holiday. I understood the person’s concerns and agreed, in part, with their assertions. The more I got to thinking about it, though, I felt like their thoughts, while valid, were a little bit short…sighted.
Christ is everywhere. His death and resurrection are everywhere. We just need to know where to look and how to uncover them.
If your focus is on Christ and your heart set on His love, you can take almost anything the world dishes out and point it back to the message of the cross, THE message of love and freedom.
Take, for instance, the staples of a secular Easter celebration:
- Bunny rabbits hopping around
- Boiling, Painting and hiding eggs
- The Easter baskets with fake grass
- Chocolate bunnies and candy
You get the idea…
Now, we know these are counterfeit interpretations of the true meaning of Easter. It’s not like any of these have anything to do, really, with the Christ rising from the dead, right?
Looking a little harder
What if we open our minds up a little bit more to make some less obvious associations between the items above the Gospel message?
You don’t have to read statistics to know what the sexual culture is on most college (and high school) campuses across our country. Young adults are mating like rabbits, hopping from broken “relationship” to broken “relationship”, from bed to bed, in search of a forever love that only the risen Christ can give. Your body is designed by God. It is a gift from God. Live chastity … that’s an Easter message.
Many people have become hardened like boiled eggs because when they find themselves in hot water situations they form a shell around their heart rather than letting God crack them. Your heart was created by God. It is a gift from God. Only He can fill it … that’s an Easter message.
Many people paint themselves a “different color” than that who they truly are or are called to be. Virtual realities like “Facebook” have become a cult phenomenon where people can create the persona they most want to be or that they most want others to see, afraid to show their true selves, a slave to culture and public opinion. Christ died because of public opinion. He rose because of Divine design. It doesn’t matter what the world says or thinks, only what God thinks. You are unique, created by God. Only God’s opinions matters … that’s an Easter message.
Many people hide themselves (like eggs). They want to “stand out” in culture but not to “stick out”. They hide those beautifully unique parts of themselves that others might not accept. Others hide the messy areas of their lives, their sins, in fear that God won’t forgive, accept or love them. Christ came for sinners, not for the righteous (Mt 9:13). Christ came to expose everything in His light. He is bigger than your sin and is setting you apart (holy = to set apart). Only God loves you perfectly … that’s an Easter message.
Many people are putting all their eggs in one basket, praying for fame or fortune and promising, once they have it, to then use it to point back to God. God doesn’t work that way. The cross teaches us that to become great you must become weak, to be the most’ you must become the least’. Not the other way around. Stardom is not a tool to evangelize people; holiness is the tool. Famous people who do lead others to God are to be commended, yes, but fame is not the goal. Sanctity is the goal. If it’s about the fame, your life will be as fleeting and useless as that fake grass in the basket holding all the eggs. You were created to put your faith (eggs) in God’s basket. Trust the Lord (Prov. 3:5…6). Only God’s plan for you will make you happy … that’s an Easter message.
Many people want to be seen as attractive, pleasing and alluring. They want to be the center of attention, the goal of others’ pursuits and the most sought after of all. They are a lot like those chocolate bunnies that people love so much. Of course, we all know that too much of those makes you sick, gives you acne, clog your arteries, can induce a sugar coma and ruin your diet and appetite. Not to mention, most of them are hollow. Christ did not come for us to be more attractive on the outside, for God cares more about our “insides” (1 Sam 16:7). It ain’t about the wrapper or the sugar, it’s about the substance. You are not a hollow shell if Christ is at the center of your life. Only God’s life will fill you (and others) up … that’s an Easter message.
So, maybe Christ is more present in secularized notions of Easter than I thought upon first glance. In fact, when I take a deeper look I not only see Christ more clearly in those situations but I see how desperately this culture is in need of Him, and how urgently we, who seek to know and love Christ, need to become more like Him everyday.
The answer is not in eliminating the secular images from the spiritual meanings. The answer is in showing the need for the spiritual within the secular, to shed light on all that culture deems “Easter” by loving them into a greater understanding of what Easter is really about … death to this world and life in the next.