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Blind Chihuahua

More to religion
than pleasing
your imaginary friend

The Message

Three Congressmen who voted in favor of the Communications Decency Act were debating the meaning of Easter:

"Easter," the first one said, is when all your relatives gather round the table, and you carve the turkey with all the trimmings."

"No, that's probably Thanksgiving," said the second. "Easter is when Santa Claus comes down the chimney and brings you toys."

"You're both wrong," said the third. "Easter is when Jesus Christ is crucified, dead, and buried, and on the third day, comes out of the tomb. And if he sees his shadow..."


We are all like the Congressmen. It's Easter all the time, and we just don't get it.

Easter is the defining miracle of Christianity. Christians are those who maintain that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a physical and historical fact. Or so we say. But most of us don't believe it firmly enough to stake our lives on it — by which I mean to say that just about all of us live our lives as if it had never happened.

By contrast, the handful of cult followers who had abandoned Jesus at his trial and crucifixion, who had been mourning not only the loss of their leader, but also of their faith, who were either in hiding for fear that they would be killed next, or who had already skipped town, were energized. They were filled with the urge to go out and spread the good news to as many people as they could, before Jesus came again to end the world and rescue the faithful. They did extraordinary deeds, and took extraordinary risks. They were transformed by the resurrection, and in turn transformed an obscure Jewish revival movement into Christianity, which in turn transformed world history.

And now, two thousand years later, are we so bold? Does our Christianity transform history, or has it been captured by the culture in which it is contained? Does our faith still make history, or is it a slave to history and to culture, forced to affirm the beliefs that make the greatest number of us comfortable?

Now, compared to us, the earliest Christians had one advantage — a sense of urgency. They thought that Judgement Day would occur before the apostles died, which is why they didn't immediately write the gospels. It was not until the apostles were dying that the first Christians realized that there would be future generations for whom knowledge of Christ would need to be preserved. Before that they formed idealistic communities, sharing their goods in common, giving up worldly concerns. And they evangelized and waited.

We, on the other hand, have lost that sense of urgency. We, too, wait for Christ to bring about the new heaven and the new earth, but in the meantime, we know that we must live our lives. And we do so. Which in the modern era, means business as usual. Which in turn means living as though nothing had happened two thousand years ago. Oh yes, I know, some of us make bold to proclaim the Good News, some of us are preachers who draw a living wage from the Word, some of us go to church about as often as I write these sermons. But in all important essentials, almost all of us would be doing the same things we are doing now with our lives if we were Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or atheists.

Well, to paraphrase Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, life is what you do in God's Universe, on God's Time. For the Christians out there, it's been Easter Time in God's Universe every single day for almost two thousand years now. It's time to get a little more hip to that than those Congressmen in our lesson, and at least to use meditation and prayer to enlarge our awareness of the sacred dimension of existence that is constantly present to us. And to communicate that awareness to the people around us as a matter of course.

Will that enable us to change our lives in some dramatic manner, like the first Christians? Not immediately. But, to quote a Taoist saying, "A journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet." Let's start, and see where the Spirit leads us. Perhaps we can do business with a little more grace than has been usual lately.

Now go in peace and courage. The resurrection means that your destiny is good. Ultimately, there are no risks.

Yawn! I'm ready to arise from boredom.

In recognition of the priesthood of all believers, this sermon is by a lay person.

See also Killing Christ, Facets of the Resurrection, and our Altar Rail.