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Missing the point

On December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for 59 seconds and 852 feet at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their sister shared their excitement with the local newspaper. The next morning the headline in their local paper  read, “Popular local bicycle merchants to be home for the holidays.” The editor didn’t realize the significance of that event. He missed the point of their excitement.

Incredibly, in spite of the vantage point of two thousand years of history, there are many people who view the resurrection of Jesus Christ just like that editor viewed the Wright brothers’ first flight. It was something that happened rather than a great change event

Many see Easter merely as a time home to be with family. There is much more to it.

Resurrection – comfort and/or challenge?

We can smile at the editor’s lack of understanding about the significance of the event. But I am beginning to realize how much I am like that editor. Let me explain.

During most of my lifetime I have focused exclusively on the resurrection as the Good News. Jesus conquered the most significant fact of our life… death. With Jesus, I too will rise again. I rightly take comfort in that. What I am beginning to realize is that I have focused too much on how the Resurrection impacts my future. I have failed to realize how the resurrection challenges me to live my life today.

I am not thinking about the challenge to prove that Jesus rose. I am talking about the challenge implicit in what Jesus’ resurrection teaches and how that changes the way I should live my life.

Let’s not stop with what Jesus taught during his life. Let’s take seriously what his death teaches us about living.

I am afraid that for many today Jesus’ death teaches that God is an angry king who demands “pay back” for our offenses against God and neighbor. I am now seeing a clearer connection that Jesus’ death models for us the limitless way we are to love God and our neighbor. He is teaching us to “pay God’s limitless love forward”.

Understanding and accepting the challenge

This Lent and this Holy Week have made it clearer than ever that Jesus’ life and death models for us what it means to really love our God and our brothers and sisters.

This Lent has made it clearer to me how Jesus uses stories such as the Good Samaritan to show how me how to love everyone whether they are blood relatives, look like me, or pray like me… even if they are in some way “enemies”!

Jesus teaches us that limitless love is the way God wants us to love each and every one of our brothers and sisters.

No wonder after washing their feet, he asked his apostles, “Do you understand what I have done.”

He suffered and died to show us that “an eye for an eye” is not God’s way of dealing with us… so it should be not our way of dealing with each other.

He summed up the law and the prophets in “love your God and your neighbor as yourself… even if it hurts, etc.

He proved the cross is no longer a “scandal” but a sign of hope for our resurrection!


A question of focus

  • Is my Easter focus primarily on what Jesus did for me?
  • Or is it on understanding that I am to love even my enemies?