Lent is over. Holy week has passed. The glow of Easter morning is already fading. Now our attention turns to summer, baseball, weekends at the lake, and whether or not this is the year we finally buy a new grill. But before we move on to more earthly pursuits, I wonder if there are a few things from this Easter worth taking with us into the summer months. In that vein, I offer three things to remember before Easter gets away from us.
First, don’t take yourself too seriously. Pride in who you are and what you do is misplaced. If we can learn anything from Easter, it is that our well-being is not wrapped up in our own abilities and our own performance. Our well-being is entirely wrapped up in who Jesus is and what God is doing. During Holy Week, Jesus tells the religious leaders of Jerusalem that they’re not exactly at the front of the line when it comes to entering the kingdom of God (Matt 21:31). I suspect that many of us will have to wait our turn as well. So don’t take yourself too seriously, and remember that all that we are and all that we will be is the gracious gift of God.
Second, it’s not okay to take the wisdom of the world and claim it as the gospel. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that people will look all over the place to find something to believe in, something to hang their hat on (1 Cor 1:22), and during Holy Week Jesus tells the crowds that many will come claiming false messages of salvation (Matt 24:5). We look in all kinds of places and turn to all kinds of remedies to make our lives better, easier, and more fulfilling. And the world offers all kinds of new and improved methods for self-improvement. No matter how enticing it might be to take the wisdom of the world and put a Christian label on it, it’s not okay. Paul says we ought to go on preaching Christ crucified. Paul reminds us that even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. As Christians, one of our goals ought to be to provide an eternal, time tested alternative to the new and improved self-help regimens that seem to pop up every week and disappear just as quickly.
Finally, remember what we claim when we claim Christ. We claim God on earth in human flesh. We claim our limitations and our sinfulness. We claim love as the greatest good. We claim self-sacrifice over selfishness. We claim resurrection, the opportunity for new and different life. We claim that the wisdom of this world is not sufficient. We claim a history and a heritage and an identity that the world will think is sheer silliness. We claim a God whose actions and power fly in the face of conventional wisdom. We claim a God, who even in weakness, is stronger than the best the world has to offer. We claim eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Easter is now behind us on the calendar. But the truths of Easter ought to remain before us. The wisdom of this world will pass away, but God’s love endures forever. Alleluia.