01/04/2009: Is Easter anything to do with us?
I have mused a while on my reluctance to watch this story of the final week of Jesus' life told again with a different cast. As a Christian and a Methodist Minister should I not be watching it over and over? It is an amazing story, it is also a very sad story, and I am not in a hurry to see his suffering for good reason. We do not want to acknowledge that Golgotha is anything to do with us.
However a frequent phrase used in Lent and at other times states "There is a fraction of a moment when Jesus hung there for each one of us". It's not an easy thought for anyone to carry about the suffering of someone else. If you think that you have never done anything wrong it's even more of an imposition.
In one of America's recent mass killings at a university a brave and noble Professor gave his life for his students. A Jew, he had been in the concentration camps in the war and survived. But he died on a sunny afternoon on a leafy campus because a gun man was loose and didn't do him the service of dying earlier in the day than happened. When the gun man came the Professor's thinking held the door shut even under fire and he ordered his students to jump out of the window and run. The students survived because of him and I hope are living to the full because of his sacrifice. They didn't ask for his suffering or his death but without it they could not have survived.
Many have said they didn't ask for Jesus to die for them, but this Christian faith says that we cannot survive without it. Christ suffered for us out of a love we can only imagine and we may struggle with the concept of his love for us. Many struggle with the resurrection that follows but it's the way of salvation for humankind. And yes, it is not without it's painful moments for each one of us.
Therefore we need to see Christ's passion to even come close to thinking that Easter is anything to do with us. It is a matter of faith we depend on for our future.