My mind has been on Easter. That is, of course, related to my occupation, since I have been ruminating about the sermon series I will be preaching at Greenfield during the Easter season. I think it's safe to say that Christmas gets far more attention in our culture (and perhaps even in our churches). Even for myself, someone who didn’t grow up going to church, I was aware of Christmas. It was a big deal, albeit more for the presents than for anything related to the baby in the manger. But Easter, not so much. The extent our celebration of Easter was to colour some hard boiled eggs and eat too much chocolate bunny (and yes, you should always eat the ears first).
I fear that many church goers, following the lead of our culture, have bought into the commercialization of Christmas and the domestication Easter. And while most in the church recognize the dangers of a commercialized Christmas, I’m not so sure we have countered our culture’s domestication of Easter as well. It is telling that for many of us, Christmas is by far the bigger holiday, rather than Easter. This is opposite historic Christianity where Easter was always at the very heart of the Christian faith.
Not only have we domesticated Easter, sometimes I think we have misunderstood what is at the very heart of the Christian faith. This is the view of leading New Testament scholar, Tom Wright. He has argued persuasively in his latest book, The Day the Revolution Began, that most of modern Christianity has misunderstood the significance of Easter and the nature of salvation. He contends:
We have Platonized our eschatology (substituting “souls going to heaven” for the promised new creation) and have therefore moralized our anthropology (substituting a qualifying examination of moral performance for the biblical notion of the human vocation), with the result that we have paganized our soteriology, our understanding of “salvation” (substituting the idea of “God killing Jesus to satisfy his wrath” for the genuinely biblical notions we are about to explore). (147)
Those are some big claims and some big words. I'm looking forward to unpacking some of these claims during our Easter Sermon series, The Easter Revolution. This series will begin on Palm Sunday and will continue through the Easter weekend and conclude the first Sunday of May.