by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters, April 2014
Easter is coming and Jesus is everywhere. Crosses are everywhere. Surprisingly, I think that makes it more difficult to worship during this season.
Take notice and you will realize how domesticated the cross as become. The crucifix has become a fashion item and the cross has been claimed as another piece of jewelry by rappers as well as wrapped as another piece of hollow chocolate Easter candy by your local Kroger. Seeing the cross as another piece of “bling” around our necks, or even as a playful piece of candy, tames this powerful symbol. Is the cross something we need to forget, in order to remember its power and significance?
In 1975, Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopalian priest and author, wrote a modern meditation on the losing and finding of Jesus called, The Alleluia Affair. In his wonderful fable, all of the images of Jesus suddenly disappeared and began to live and breathe and walk the streets, performing acts of service and love. From the six-foot crucifix on the wall in the cathedral, to the ones set in stained glass along the wall, they all began to live and breathe.
Jesus was no longer the flat, two dimensional image on the wall, contained in a church or hung over a door, but instead lived and breathed and walked among us. People were confronted by Jesus’ presence on their commute to work or at the lunch counter…in the airport or on the streets. Jesus was everywhere.
Being confronted by Jesus began to change the world. People began to realize the ways we continue to crucify each other. Boyd writes, “People wanted very earnestly to stop crucifying each other. They honestly preferred loving to hating, life instead of death, and clearly perceived the harm that they had brought to others as well as to themselves. It occurred to them they had apparently paid lip service to Christianity without taking it very seriously or even considering the possibility of actually practicing it. They saw how they used the cross as a symbol in their churches, stained glass windows, and on their altars, yet had not delved at all deeply into its real meanings…they wanted to know what the resurrection of Jesus Christ really meant.”
Confronted with this Easter story, so do we. Maybe we need to forget how familiar the story is in order to remember the power of Easter. We need to contend with the living Jesus. Easter is coming. Use this time to get ready to see the living Christ, once more.