All posts by Justin Fung

Hong Kong | London | California | Washington, DC Christian | Theologian | Musician | Activist | Sojourner

Hating Easter and the same old Jesus

He Qi Palm SundayOn Saturday, I got out in the glorious weather (finally!) to have brunch with a friend at Eastern Market (if you haven’t had the crêpes from the crêpe place and Blackout donuts from DC Donuts, you should really put that on your to-do list!).  As we were talking, I reminded him that yesterday was Palm Sunday and his face scrunched up and he made a little noise of distaste.

I said, “Dude, how can you hate Easter?!”

His response:

It’s the same old thing: the same cheesy songs, the same scriptures, the same sermons. There’s nothing new there.

That got me thinking, because in a sense he’s right. Every Easter we talk about the same thing; every Palm Sunday we talk about the same thing. It can be real easy to go through the motions, to slip into lazy routines, to assume that we’ve heard it all before. Especially at this time of year.

I’ve heard the Easter story for as long as I can remember, and yet what God impressed upon me this week is that if we open ourselves up to God, if we ask him to show us some new insights, he will. That’s what it means to be in a relationship with the living God; that’s the power of the Word of God.

In writing this week’s message (which you can find here), I was reminded again that Jesus is far more than our traditions and our routines and our well-worn stories.

The messiah whom we encounter in Matthew 21, the one who enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, is not really at all what you may have expected, the one who is not here to fulfill all of your greatest longings in all the ways that you planned.

Jesus is not the king of your own making or your own choosing, but the king who turns everything on its head. This Jesus was not just an ancient teacher spouting wise sayings that you can post on social media to get likes and clicks, but the king who says:

Do what I say and you will have life. Trust in me. Trust in my way.

This Jesus did not stay dead; this Jesus did not stay in ancient history, just to be talked about and dissected and debated. This is not the Jesus of same old, same old. This is the living Christ.

Roll on, Easter.

LISTEN HERE: “Not the Same Old Jesus.”

Mark Labberton – Voice & Touch

Mark Labberton

We had the privilege of hearing from Fuller Seminary president Mark Labberton this past Sunday, as he shared from Matthew 7:24-8:13 about “Voice & Touch” and what it means to live lives of integrity.

Here’s the video from our third service:

Mark Labberton – Voice & Touch from The District Church on Vimeo.

And for a slightly different message, check out the audio from the second service!

What can separate us from the love of God?

Just a reminder. Romans 8:29-39:

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.