Happy Easter. He’s Alive.
But please allow me to digress for a few minutes.
I needed a haircut this week. And it wasn’t because Easter is approaching and I need to look good on stage. The two men ahead of me at the barbershop did want haircuts for that reason, and it’s a good enough reason to get a haircut. But I’ll not be on stage anywhere.
After letting my hair grow out as much as I would allow for my 10 day ministry trip in the north Georgia woods to gain me as much insulation on my head as my head could grow, I was back home and it was time for a haircut.
Patti is my barber who has cut my hair for over 10 years. She is a self-described ‘formerly Catholic probably Buddhist’ with roots in San Diego. She and I are very different and we’ve had some very interesting conversations over the years.
She remembers I taught at a Bible college and that I’m currently in ministry. She’ll ask me religious questions from time to time but also about what I’ve been doing.
After listening to her conversations with the first two men about their Easter involvement, I chuckled and said to Patti something like “It may be worth paying attention to Patti that the first three people in your chair this morning are heading toward Easter.” She laughed and deflected.
When I sat in the chair, I told her about spending 10 days serving hikers on the Appalachian Trail passing out apples, preparing food and making available waterproof portions of the New Testament to hikers. She asked if the hikers had to pay. “Of course not.”
“Apples?” Patti, like others, went there. “Wasn’t that what Eve ate…an apple?”
I laughed, “Well we don’t know for sure. The Bible doesn’t say apple, tradition does. The Bible says fruit. But we don’t know it was an apple. It’s important to pay attention to what the Bible actually says. Kinda like Jonah and the whale, the Bible says big fish.”
So off that thread went ending with “You don’t believe that do you, that Jonah was swallowed by a whale”.
My nudge was to look at what the Bible says not at what we’re told about what the Bible says.
A friend of hers came in with an Easter basket for her. Patti drew him into the conversation asking him, a former southern Baptist, if he thought Jonah was swallowed by a whale. He did not but was so very kind in not wanting to hamper anyone’s belief if they did. I affirmed that I was that kind of believer.
The conversation then went to hunting Easter eggs (connected to the Easter bunny), Easter Sunday and the potential confusion it can create since only one is true, that it’s for the children and that we still hunt Easter eggs at our house, to oh, you have children.
During the conversation I said what I say from time to time;…”Children are part of the reason why I need Jesus.”
Patti says, “Oh I bet you are a great father, a fun father”.
“But you should ask my kids. I need Jesus.”
That’s why the resurrection is so very important. I need Jesus. In my clearest reflections on life, I have a sense of how selfish and self-righteous I am. I am not a righteous person who occasionally does sinful things, I am a sinful person who occasionally does good.
“In today’s world, we are prone to viewing ourselves primarily as righteous people who are capable of doing sinful things, as opposed to being sinful people who are capable of doing righteous things. The difference in perspective is monumental.” Embracing the Love of God by James Bryan Smith, p.83
And so as I step into Easter, it’s not about getting a haircut or being on stage or church traditions or misunderstandings about what the Bible says. It’s not about Easter eggs, certainly not the Easter bunny or apples or new clothes.
Easter is about being really sure that I need Jesus.
I’m so grateful He is alive.
At this point, I want to live in freedom in that truth.
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