Easter Week 2017 - No More Scratchy Religion

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 NIV

Easter. I remember the chocolate bunny. Wrapped in colorful tinfoil, it sat in the middle of my Easter basket as a kid and was an anchor to the weekend’s egg hunts and festivities. Of course, there was also my mom’s yearly plan to dress us all in similar outfits for the big Easter church service we attended in the town where I grew up. She would spend months choosing fabrics, cutting out patterns and then days at the sewing machine. Although I appreciated the long hours my mom would put into this hobby of wanting us all to look matchy matchy, unfortunately, I can definitely say there wasn’t the same smile on our faces as my mom had on her face once we had to put the outfits on. Scratchy and stiff… nonetheless. We even got family pictures taken one year because of my mom’s excitement at the finished product. One year she completed a baby blue leisure suit for my dad that matched my sisters dresses and accented the sailor suits that my brother John and I were forced to wear. That’s why the chocolate bunny was so important. Because it was the one thing I was looking forward to after having to wear something so awkward! 

 Scratchy, awkward, stiff...these were the Easter outfits made by my mom!

Scratchy, awkward, stiff...these were the Easter outfits made by my mom!

Unfortunately, that’s the way church seems to so many people. Just like that Easter outfit I had to wear... scratchy, stiff and awkward. Most will put up with it once or twice a year but with church attendance dying in this present generation, we are definitely missing the point of why we even celebrate this Holiday at all. That’s what I love about this verse. It puts into perspective the reason for why we remember Christ’s death and resurrection. This verse is a cornerstone to the truth of why God sent his Son…to SERVE, not be served. To LOVE. Not to expect LOVE. To FORGIVE….because mankind couldn’t pay the price of it’s own sin. The outfits we were creating weren’t pretty enough to cover up the brokenness that was breaking hearts across this earth. God didn’t send his Son so we could smile pretty in pictures once a year and pass the Easter ham around the table.  He sent his one and only Son so that we could find hope amidst life’s messy moments. Jesus doesn’t want religion anyway. It’s scratchy and stiff like those outfits I wore on Easter as a kid. He came to FREE us from that sort of awkward belief system and give us something that is REAL. TANGIBLE. HEARTFELT.

As we begin this week of celebrating the Easter story in our churches, families and personal lives, may we never forget the reason for it all. May we never FORGET the powerful gift of salvation that we have been given. May it clothe our hearts with the greatest gift of all…the LOVE God has for each of us. 

No matter where this finds you on your journey in knowing Jesus, pray that this Easter is different in your heart, in our soul. 

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