Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter

The last full day for me in Michigan before heading back to California was also the day of Christ's resurrection--Easter Sunday--where all of Lent's sacrificial love is let go, and released into the sky and up into the heavens. I'm not sure why exactly, but this Easter was especially rewarding. Perhaps it had to do with the wonderful Easter program at church, which reminded me that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross, and that there's room for everyone---even me---at the table for sinners.

There was a drama done today that emphasized the fact that everyone is welcome, specifically pointing out that while all of us may not be worthy of a seat or a place next to Christ, all of us are definitely wanted and welcomed and pursued by His everlasting extension of grace.

And yet, even after this incredible and hope-filled message of the gospel of Christ that is more "Universalist" sounding than many people would like to think, a friend of mine from high school youth group came up to me and began filling me in on his life and his happenings, adding further details that disturbed and nearly ruined my joy and meditation on the wonder and power and mystery of Christ's resurrection. My friend began to tell me of how recently a gay nightclub in Kalamazoo, Michigan had burned down and informed me that if he was working fireman duty that night, he would've quote "taken his time and let the queers burn."

(Something is still not right in the world, despite the reality of a resurrected Christ!)

Extremely bothered, I began to subtly add how frustrating an attitude like this was (especially coming from a "Christian") and added how I hoped none of the people there that night were hurt or injured. Even though my friend did not catch how mad I really really was, I still pursued this idea a little bit...adding how ironic it was for a place to be burned down by people seemingly anti-gay, anti-reconciliation, anti-Easter, yet probably all regular church-goers. I lamented how sad it is, and how ashamed we should be and then---for a very long moment---I wished Michigan wasn't my home. Not that this friend was speaking for everyone, because I know he doesn't. But it is probably an idea entertained by more people than not, and so because of that, I wished I could've been somewhere else at that moment.

Maybe I'm just ultra-sensitive on this subject because I feel like most of the time---as a Christian---I find myself relating to the gay people of the world more often than with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe it has somewhat to do with my disgust for stereotypes, and my frustration with my own inability to really speak my mind and call people out when they say such hate-filled things. I don't know what the real thing is, honestly. I only know that today was Easter---the holiday we Christians claim to be crazy for. And yet, even still, I saw someone trying to tear down grace and stomp out the hope of the gospel in just a few little words. I found one of God's children running from grace and running to hate, as opposed to running to grace and running from hate. This is what saddens me most.

One writer I can't remember (sorry!) recently wrote, "We're Easter-Christians living in a Good Friday world!" I like how that sounds, but today, I was bothered by how much this one conversation managed to turn my Good Friday world into an even more grim one. One that was still focusing on shadow, rather than light; hate rather than love; death rather than life.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but that's not the kind of Easter Christ was meaning to bring to His creation at all.

3 comments:

Stevo said...

I love that this Easter was special for you. I love that you are seeing more and more what grace is and what it means for you (and me). And I think I understand your anger in the situation described...I'd feel the same way. At the same time, when do we show grace to the one struggling to seek grace for others? When do we wrap our arms around the hypocritical and stereotypical and say, "You know what, God finds great pleasure in you as His creation."? Don't think I have an answer to this, because I certainly don't. I'm just throwing it out there. I'd be pissed and annoyed and frustrated beyond description, but I'm not sure if that annoyance and frustration is going to help point him to the real Christ, ya know? Love ya buddy.

Stevo said...

I love that this Easter was special for you. I love that you are seeing more and more what grace is and what it means for you (and me). And I think I understand your anger in the situation described...I'd feel the same way. At the same time, when do we show grace to the one struggling to seek grace for others? When do we wrap our arms around the hypocritical and stereotypical and say, "You know what, God finds great pleasure in you as His creation."? Don't think I have an answer to this, because I certainly don't. I'm just throwing it out there. I'd be pissed and annoyed and frustrated beyond description, but I'm not sure if that annoyance and frustration is going to help point him to the real Christ, ya know? Love ya buddy.

Stephen Becker said...

oops...sorry i posted this twice. i barely wanted to post it once, so now i'm even more embarrassed.