On 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?!”
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.