The Risk of Easter Celebration

I’ve been thinking the past couple days about the honest way we’re moving into this Easter weekend at Granger Community Church. At least we’ve created a path of honesty with our new series. I’m hoping many of us accept that narrow, vulnerable path to the empty grave of Jesus.

Our new series, Room for Doubt, invites us into a dark, locked room where Jesus’ disciples hid out following their Master’s untimely and gruesome death outside the city gates. All their hopes for a kingdom of triumph and recognized identity lay in the grave with their friend. And the room of fear they huddled in was filled with doubt. 

Doubt that what they’d hoped for was ever real hope at all. Doubt that they’d ever really understood what Jesus meant. Except for that part that they would suffer because they were associated with him. Doubt of the unknown. What was next? How would they die? Was there anything he taught that was worth risking their own lives for? Peter had already decided there wasn’t. So had Judas. Fear overwhelmed joy. Doubt replaced hope.

Granted, we have the benefit of reading the whole story of the passion of the Christ and his resurrection. History – if we believe it – gives us perspective the early disciples of Jesus didn’t have.

Yet – at the same time, if we’re honest, we have in our own lives the same perspective they had. We experience the “here and now” of our lives. If we’re honest, we’ve misunderstood the hope of Jesus more than a couple of times. Death appears to be as final as we thought it would be. Loneliness follows every funeral. Grief chokes our own life, threatening to alter every day that remains.

We face the threat of the unknowns in our own experience. And those unknowns breed doubt, fear and vulnerability.

Room for doubt? And how. The walls often feel like they’re literally closing in on us.

All over the world this weekend, millions of people – Christ-followers, twice-a-year church-goers, skeptics and curious people will attend Easter services. Thousands of them at Granger Community Church.

And the risk is we will show up knowing we're supposed to celebrate this historic, humanity-altering event, and we will suspend our doubts and worries and confusion.

The risk is we’ll check our doubt at the door because we’re supposed to walk in and sing, “He is risen!”

The risk is – the hope of Easter will be lost on us when real life sets in on Monday morning, because we didn’t choose the path of honest vulnerability. We didn’t stop in a room of doubt where the early disciples huddled, wondering “what does this all mean?”

Real life raises real doubt. Regardless of Easter. And maybe that’s the point. Perhaps the reality of Easter is experienced as the risen Christ meets us in our room of doubt, acknowledging our questions and our fears.

What if we show up this weekend without pretense, without masks, without posturing? What if we ask, “Is this real and if it is, what does it mean in my life and relationships?”

He is risen. Join me in experiencing more than a holiday.