Holy Week is always long and tiring. It is the final push from the last 30-ish days of Lent towards Easter. It’s the one week in the year that most people are in church more days than they are not. There are weird service structures and loud banging sounds, an extra dose of symbolism and intentionality, and why is it always so dark in here?
Easter, the resurrection, is what all Christianity hangs on. It is the essence of our faith, the thing upon which everything else turns. It is the festival day of all festival days, and we therefore ought to take the proper time to examine and understand what it means when we say He rose on the third day. “I think this is why the church created Lent in the first place… Let’s not just pass on by Easter Sunday, let’s have a time of preparation, so you can get into the mood and meaning of it. Let’s do 40 days of focusing on the power of what this event is, the cross and resurrection,” says Rev. Joel Hess this week on Ringside.
Forty days of examination, reflection, and preparation. Then you cap that all off with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, before finally arriving at the big celebration. It’s a beautiful process, though the journey through it is not always easy. You must take the time to sit with your deficits, your struggles, and your sins. You must come to accept that your wickedness required a man to die in anguish on a cross, bearing your burden, and he did so because of his love for you. Then he rose, completing his triumph over death, and there is finally a reason to celebrate!
Perhaps this is why the secular celebrations surrounding Easter feel different than they do surrounding Christmas. Rev. Paul Koch this week reflects on why he finds great joy in non-believers celebrating Christmas, but non-believers celebrating Easter feels more like a mockery. “Maybe it’s because of the amount of intentional focus that we do…this insanely focused, reflective time on your sins and your inability to save yourself, and your need for a savior through the agony of the cross.” While Advent is intended to be a time of preparation, we don’t focus on it as much as we do Lent. Let’s be honest, we start celebrating the birth of our Lord the moment the Thanksgiving turkey is put away, regardless of how many Advent hymns our pastors throw at us, stubbornly refusing to let us sing any of the good Christmas songs early.
With Easter, the church takes the time to prepare. We sit with the darkness, understanding our deserved place in it, so when the sun rises on the third day and we hear, “He is not here. He has risen,” we receive that proclamation with exceeding joy, for we truly understand what that means, for the world and for us, and it is hard to see that life-saving gift be reduced to nothing more than dying eggs and creepy giant bunnies.
I don’t know if it is really any worse of a mockery to have Easter bunnies than Santa Claus. I do think that the division between believers and non-believers can be seen clearer in the early Easter morning sun than by the light of the Christmas star, but perhaps that is worthy of our pity rather than our anger. The preparation that takes place during Lent and Holy Week helps us to understand the truth about ourselves, our neighbors, our world, and the redemption we have been handed through Christ, and because of it, we shout even more loudly, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
This article is a brief examination of the “metaphorical and theological rugby match” that was this week’s episode of Ringside Preachers. Listen to Rev. Joel Hess, Rev. Paul Koch, Rev. Ross Engel, and Tyler the Intern as they duke it out over their favorite Easter moments, whether non-believers can celebrate Easter, what John has to say about Jesus really being here with us, and more on the full Ringside Preachers episode, “Paul Doesn’t Like Easter Egg Hunts”
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Ringside Community College is Here!
“THE NEW GODS OF OUR POST-COVID WORLD”
Join the Ringside Preachers in-person for our first Semester of community college in Ventura, CA! Drinks, discussion, music, and an education that you can’t get anywhere else.
- “The god of happiness” Rev. Joel Hess
- “The god of safety” Rev. Paul Koch
- “The god of social media” Rev. Ross Engel
- “The god of scarcity and abundance” Rev. David Rufner of 1517
May 5, 2021
Grace Lutheran Church, Ventura, CA
RSVP to reserve your spot