Are We Celebrating Easter Right?

For Easter, many preachers will get into their pulpits and tell their congregations that the appropriate response to Jesus’ death and resurrection is gratitude. We must be thankful for forgiveness (for our individual sins), we must be thankful for assurance (meaning it doesn’t matter how we live), and we must be thankful for salvation (which is interpreted as our ticket to heaven).  While I certainly believe in our being grateful for what Jesus’ death and resurrection offers humanity, is that really the primary response that God is looking for. The next paragraph is probably not for you if you prioritize the ‘Sunday School’ answer over Jesus’ straightforward and clear teaching. (Can’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Contrary to popular opinion, the primary response in scripture to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is not gratitude (although we should certainly be grateful) but it is imitation. Jesus, over and over again, invited those around him to follow him and imitate his way of life which inevitably leads to crucifixion (aka being crushed by hegemony and power). Jesus’ primary call to become his follower has always been about taking up the cross. This is primarily an ‘opting out’ of the worlds way of being and doing. Opting out of its violence, oppression, greed, apathy, selfishness and then ‘opting in’ to God’s kingdom of  servanthood, jubilee justice, holistic peace, forgiveness (of others sins and financial debts), and a courageous love not known by this world. Imitating the Way of Christ, in direct confrontation with this world, even to the point of death is what we have been called to as disciples of Jesus.

So as we celebrate Easter and the Resurrection of our Lord, let it not be a comfortable and complacent remembering, but may that memory of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection inspire and invigorate us to participate in the New Humanity and the New Way Jesus has provided for us.

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6 comments

  1. Laura Parker · March 30, 2013

    So what makes you think your response is right? And that those whose response is gratitude is wrong? Is there a right or wrong in the way God’s Spirit causes our hearts to respond? Lighten up! God’s grace is magnanimous!

    • Drew Hart · March 30, 2013

      My convictions are centered around the overwhelming thrust of New Testament scripture, but particularly on Jesus’ teachings, who I believe to be Lord and Master of our lives. For those that want to norm their lives after Jesus (as Scripture calls for), then my post is for such a person. If you do not share in those values then we are talking apples and oranges. My belief is that God’s Spirit in our hearts is working in consistency with Jesus and not in any divergent way. So while I can not lighten up on calling others to follow Jesus I will agree with you that Jesus’ grace is overflowing and abundant. Peace.

  2. sara michael · March 30, 2013

    Fantastic, Drew! Thanks & Happy Easter to you and your family.

    • Drew Hart · March 30, 2013

      Thanks, same to you and your family as well!!!

  3. marquita hamilton · March 31, 2013

    Thanks, Drew for your post. Although I know that God made me a new creature once I accepted Jesus, there are things that I have to “die” to daily. I believe the best and most honoring way to express gratitude for what Jesus did for me/us, is to live as He instructs and asks. In doing so, each time we “die” to ourselves and this world system, we find ourselves experiencing and receiving new life in Christ; thereby experiencing the resurrection with Him – the quickening of His Spirit within us.

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