Two days ago was my 20th year of being a Christian. Praise the Lord! Really though… I am so thankful for the 20 years of freedom that I have found in Christ. However, this 20th Easter is very different then that first Easter that I was saved by grace. I was saved the week before Easter…a lot like how Easter falls this year.
I hate to say that this Easter doesn’t faze me as much as the first one but to say that would be true. But only in some ways. The story is no longer new but seems like a repetitive story. I know the historical facts and the theological implications and the religious revelation that the cross means. I get it. Been there and read that Easter story more than I can count.
As some of my friends were talking about Lent I realized that I pretty much did nothing to recognize this Easter. I didn’t do Lent, I didn’t buy a new dress, I didn’t go to church more than normal. I didn’t do anything.
As a twinge of guilt crept in, so did anger. I wanted to be angry at God for “demanding” all these actions of me when some days I am struggling to remember to eat dinner or to keep my head on straight or spend time with those I love.
I immediately thought, “God, I am too tired for that. Sorry I didn’t do anything this year. I’m just too exhausted and that’s too much and so maybe next year.” In the days after this very non-spiritual prayer I spent some time feeling guilty about not physically recognizing Easter. Listen, last year I did the whole nine yards. Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passover, Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, etc. So yeah there’s that… I felt like I had fallen off the “godly wagon.”
One of my favorite pastors/authors/speakers is Tullian Tchividjian. He is the grandson of Billy Graham and is a great man of God in his own right. I got his new book One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World for Christmas and confess that I have not started reading it yet. However, I saw it on my entertainment stand last night and decided to listen to one of his podcasts. I often enjoy these and it had been a long day so I thought that would be refreshing and enjoyable for me. Because here is the truth, I was looking for a cure to my exhaustedness (I think I made that word up). And it is here that God met me where I needed to be met.
His Spirit reminded me that Easter is not about Lent or ash on my forehead or Resurrection cookies. And please do not hear me saying it is about my refreshment because it most definitely is NOT. It is about the fact that in one day the accumulation of all history and the pressure of all the future exploded in one instant and in that one instant, humanity was deluged in more grace and relief and refreshment then our minds can grasp.
When Jesus said it was finished it was FINISHED. Nothing could add to that act, and nothing could take any of it away. In that moment, humanity received the hope and the promise that what we experience will be redeemed. Every part of me and my life will be redeemed and turned into something good to offer to God.
At first thought this is exhausting because I think, “man I have a lot of work to do.” But then I remember that it is finished. What needed to be done was done on that fateful day. Nothing about me is good or worth offering, but in my place stands not just a redeemed life but the Redeemer; not just my salvaged soul but the Savior. I need not do ANYTHING.
Listen to me, friend. I WILL DO NOTHING to deserve to have my life offered to God. I am tired, no I am absolutely exhausted of working hard to give God something worth loving, and this Easter I failed to be spiritual enough. But truth be told, I fail before I even wake up in the morning, and so do you.
If God cannot take part of me then He cannot take all of me. So one drop of yeast infests the whole loaf (Gal. 5). I am a sinful person. Not just partially a sinful person.
So are you exhausted and tired? What are you trying to accomplish? Well stop it. Rest in the cross, beloved. It has done all that needs to be done. Its work is finished, and you have the chance at restoration if you accept it and nothing else. Strive in your relationship with Christ but do so in the peace that you are accepted and the work is finished.
This Easter if you do nothing else, rest in Christ and the celebration that you are accepted. No strings attached.