Being Easter People – The Challenge

Dear Friends,
“The problem with you people is that you’re so negative. You either have hate speech toward others or you characterize yourselves as awful rotten wretches!”

I took a quiet deep breath, trying to lean into what was being directed towards me, trying to understand where he was coming from. I responded, “I certainly can appreciate how you might have that perspective about Christians.”

What followed was an honest exchange. I was particularly interested in what had formed his perspective. He shared his own experience of being told from a young age about his dreadful sinful nature. That according to Christian teachings he was a “bad person.” Regardless of the situation or the issue, at some point, someone representing the Christian perspective would move to what he referred to as “hate speech.”

Believe it or not, I really valued this conversation. I continue to push myself to hear the voices of those who come from an entirely different reality than mine. It is too easy, especially in this day of social media, to surround yourself with people who share your views. In my mind, this is just fertile ground to think that you have all the answers, you are right and others are wrong.  This is the place where self righteousness thrives.

What does it mean to me to be Easter people?  I believe we are created in the image of God, gifted by the Holy Spirit and called to follow the Way of Jesus into the world. We go forth as people who know  that our lives can go off track into selfishness and self destructive behavior. Yet we also know that God’s love for us is unconditional, demonstrated by God’s endless invitation to be in relationship. That is cause for joy. We know that when we do stray, there is always a pathway to repentance (heading back in the right direction) and redemption (living as God created us to be) and reconciliation (striving to bring healing and wholeness to all). All causes for exuberant joy for the new life that is there for us.

As Easter people, we live in the place of hope, faith, love and joy. It does not mean we deny the issues.  Rather, we as Christians know, regardless of the circumstances, we live in a place of hope, faith and love through which our joy is found. Too often, the world does not hear this foundational piece of our narrative as Christians.  Many of our fellow brothers and sisters have leaned too heavily on the challenging aspects of life’s journey at the expense of telling the full story of what it is to follow Jesus into the new life of Easter.

So here is an Easter challenge: what is one thing  you can do or say each day that will suggest to another person (and I’m not talking about our Church peeps) what it is to be a follower of Jesus into the new life of Easter?

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