Throwing Away Easter

roadside-tombN.T. Wright’s thoughts on the resurrection and Easter are invigorating me recently:

So how can we learn to live as wide-awake people, as Easter people? Here I have some bracing suggestions to make. I have come to believe that many churches simply throw Easter away year by year; and I want to plead that we rethink how we do it so as to help each other, as a church and as individuals, to live what we profess. I am speaking here particularly from, and to, the church that I know best. Those who celebrate in other ways will, I think, be able to make appropriate adjustments and take whatever the need to apply to their own situations.

For a start, consider Easter Day itself. It’s a small step forward that many churches now hold Easter vigils, as the Orthodox church has always done, but in many cases they are still too tame by half. Easter is about the wild delight of God’s creative power—not very Anglican, perhaps, but at least we ought to shout Alleluias instead of murmuring them; we should light every candle in the building instead of only some; we should give every man, woman, child, cat, dog, and mouse in the place a candle to hold; we should have a real bonfire; and we should splash water about as we renew our baptismal vows. Every step back from that is a step toward the ethereal or esoteric Easter experience, and the thing about Easter is that it is neither ethereal nor esoteric. It’s about the real Jesus coming out of the real tomb and getting God’s real new creation under way.

—N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 255–256 [emphasis added].

[image: Opening of  Roadside Tomb_0654, James Emery]





One response to “Throwing Away Easter”

  1. Alan Welch

    Thanks for sharing this, Tim. May we learn to set aside our tendency toward being reserved and really celebrate the amazing reality of Jesus’s smashing the concept of death that keeps us from fully embracing the Kingdom of God in our midst.