I don’t talk about my faith every day on this blog, but this Easter feels especially important to me. I don’t know if it’s because I have a kid now, or because the world seems so heavy right now, or a little of both – but the cross seems raw and up close – more real than it has before.
Turn back – there is nothing about bunnies or baby chicks here.
There is only a gritty story that most of us struggle to believe. A man who claimed he was God was born illegitimately, supposedly immaculately, to an unwed teenage mother and refugee. His message and his claims slapped the face of every major religious and political group. He spent most of his time in the company of questionable people. He was sentenced to death supposedly without committing a crime. They say he came back to life after being dead for three days (what?) and now lives and intercedes on my behalf so that I can be adopted by God and called his child and heir.
It’s preposterous. Ridiculous. Silly. Antiquated. And possibly deranged.
But I am grappling with the real Jesus. Not the popular Jesus. Not the megachurch Jesus. Not the wealthy conservative republican Jesus. Not the liberal hippie love-fest Jesus.
The real one has a story that is hard. His road is not attractive. There is a lot of ugly historical, cultural and religious baggage attached. It might be easier to drop it and walk away. I’ve tried.
But I cannot abandon my hope in him. If the story is true, its implications change everything. It means true justice. A home for the refugee, wholeness for the sick and suffering, and a place of honor for all those who have been despised, rejected, starved, abandoned, gassed, abused, wronged and murdered by the world and its darkness.
Believing is not easy. But today on Good Friday I find myself in the story. I find myself in the criminal hanging next to him the day he died, begging him to remember me when he comes into his kingdom.
Somehow, this wild and preposterous man’s country is my country. His land is my land. Someday, I will go there. Some days I long to.