The Tragic End of the Transactional Gospel
Recently, most churches in America celebrated Easter, or Resurrection Sunday.
The “Big-Day” within the Christian calendar.
The day of all days, so to speak.
Or, as one pastor-friend of mine used to say, “Easter is to Christians what Super Bowl Sunday is to football players.”
More than a Day, Easter is a Season!
Easter, however, is designed to be celebrated and experienced as a Season, not just a day.
It’s actually a season of 50 days during which we bump into the resurrected Messiah and find ourselves transformed by experiencing His presence in our daily world.
It’s a shame that, for so many, Easter is only a day.
An Unusual “Fast” at an Unusual Time!
Lent is, traditionally speaking, the season of the church calendar year during which many Christians fast.
While I often fast during the Lenten season, it’s rare that I commit to a fast during the season of Easter. In fact, I love the rhythm of the church calendar: we fast during the 40 days of Lent and then Feast for 50 days during Easter season. The feast is always longer than the fast.
Yes, I love that.
A few weeks ago, during the middle of the Lenten season, I sensed the Lord inviting me to launch a new fast on Easter Sunday. A fast to carry me through the fifty days of Easter season.
After much prayer and reflection, I decided that I would begin this new fast.
And, after a week of this new fast, I realize that it’s going to be harder than I thought and it’s more important than I initially suspected.
Fasting: Revealing What I Love
Because for this Easter-Season fast I am giving up two cherished human (and American) experiences:
- Convenience, and
Yes, those are the two experiences I am trying to surrender and failing miserably at doing so!
Easter: A Celebration of Self-Giving Love
Last week, I began exploring several pervasive assumptions regarding how we perceive or experience God. Each one prevents us from experiencing Him the way the Bible consistently portrays Him to the world.
These assumptions are:
- God is Distant from us. We don’t often think of God as one who reveals Himself.
- God is Disgusted with us. When we do reflect on His presence in our midst, we rarely think of Him as one who reveals Himself as Divine, self-giving love. Many, in fact, perceive Him as a God who is disgusted with us.
- God is Determined to get us to behave. We don’t think of Him as someone who wants us to enjoy His presence as much as one who wants us to get fixed before we can enter His presence.
I’ll grant you, these assumptions are never stated so crassly, yet they remain the unspoken way we perceive God in our hearts, as well as portray Him to the world.
It’s such a shame since each one is fundamentally wrong!
In fact, I would say that God is – fundamentally speaking at least – NOT a God who is Distant, Disgusted, or Determined, but rather a God of Divine self-giving love and beauty.
Posted in Delight in God, Discipleship, Easter, Formation, Love, Spiritual Formation
Tagged Easter, Empty Tomb, God's Self-Giving Love, N.T. Wright, Resurrection Day, Simpy Good News, Spiritual Formation, The Gospel