I was a girl still. This was maybe thirty-five years ago or so. Our modest Lutheran Church decided to celebrate a sun rise service out on the front lawn of our church. There, in the dew drop coolness of a gorgeous Easter morning, we gathered. In our Easter finest, with great joy and humility in our hearts, we broke the silent morning with a sweet and true celebration of the day.
And then a car sped past honking, flipping us off and yelling, “Fu**ing A%%holes”
Makes me laugh even now.
The thing about Easter is that it is the greatest decision in the history of religion. In the history of faith. In the history of history.
And it is ours, each, to make.
What do you believe?
There is evidence that a man was born and his parents named him Jesus. There is evidence he lived during a tumultuous time when power and religion battled. There is evidence he grew up and began to speak of life and of living, both on this Earth and in another, greater place. There is evidence he gained both beloved followers and suspicious opposition. There is evidence that political figures during that time were aware of him and struggled to balance his positive impact with a growing roar of fear and discontent. There is evidence he was ultimately crucified as a threat to the rule and religion of the day.
And then comes Easter.
And then comes you. And then comes me.
I am sitting here on a glorious Easter morning. The sun has skirted the morning in hopeful glory and temperatures are promised near seventy. Birds are flitting and singing outside my window. I am enjoying recalling yesterday with my family. Grateful for these people, great and small. Huge and gentle hearts are theirs. Smiling at all the beautiful colors of the day, the wonderful food, the blessings in my life too many to count.
It is a morning for everyone. For some it will be church, for some it will be bunnies and colored eggs. For some it will be just a regular Sunday off. For others, a day at work, a day on the campaign trail, on the battlefield, measuring loss or gain, love and hatred, how much and how little, how better and how worse.
The decision we make on a day of great decisions, is ours and ours alone. It is up to us, what we ultimately believe. Broken down, it is like much of life. We take what we know…we take what evidence there is….and then it is up to us what we do next.
Do you, today, take the evidence you have been given, and choose to decide, in your heart of hearts, that the man they crucified that day rose from the dead three days later? Do you choose to believe that, amidst all the preachers and teachers of that day and all the poor souls who were crucified in such barbaric manner for whatever perceived sins they committed, this man was the Son of God?
The power to decide is extraordinary. It is yours. It is ours. And it is a glorious reminder that we are not victims of anything. We wield mighty swords. The shiny blades of choice.
In any of life’s moments….In any of our situations…Whatever we face…
How great the simple and grand power to choose.
If we have options, choices, possibilities…If there are multiple roads out…If there is even one…
Then we have every reason to celebrate. Each day. Each glorious morning or hope and of possibility.
If there is time, then there is time. We’ve seen buzzer-beaters from beyond half-court. We’ve seen people recover after dire doctors’ prognosis. We’ve seen improbable comebacks and unbelievable finishes.
There is evidence of this.
What, then, do you believe?
In one lifetime, in one relationship, in one situation, in one disease, in one condition, in one problem, in one moment….
Let’s celebrate that it is ours to make. Ours to seize. Ours to grab. Ours to chase.
On a quiet, sunny, Easter Sunday, we will choose, each, whether we believe that a crucified man was really the Son of God. Beyond that, in each corner and crevice of our lives, we will choose. Again and again. Even not choosing is a choice in itself.
Believe whatever you want today. But believe it is your choice. Believe that you, alone, have the power and, with great power comes sometimes great change.
Are you willing?
Not many people, by all accounts, watched Jesus being crucified. They stayed away out of fear, out of shame, out of hopelessness, out of handfuls of emotions we all sift through and suffer.
Are you going to take a leap of faith? Are you going to summon up all the crazy courage and jitter bug dancing fire to blast through that door?
What are you going to believe? That you can cure that bastard cancer? That you can leave that lousy relationship? That you can make that dream a reality, the one no one believes you can? That you can come from the homeless car you sleep in and graduate from Yale? That you, with your missing legs, can cross the finish line of that marathon? That you can recover from whatever loss and rebound and soar?
What are you going to believe this day?
Are you going to turn a deaf ear to the naysayers? A blind eye to the screaming gaps of odds in your favor? Are you going to stand there in the morning sun and believe, even when those people are speeding by and honking and calling you an asshole?
It is your choice. And mine.
Me? I’m going to go for it.