Many of my friends and family members are uncomfortable when talking about matters of faith. I understand, because I used to be like that too. Wait — why am I saying that I used to be? I’m still uncomfortable speaking aloud, face-to-face, to other people about Christianity. What I do in my daily personal life, what I think about and care about, easily flows from my mind and heart through my lips and, through the magic of voice-to-text technology and the internet, into words that you, my dear reader, can read. If you came over to my house, however, I would hesitate when broaching the subject of faith and hold back in the expression of my beliefs.
Why? Why are we so uncomfortable with Jesus? And yes, I do single out Jesus Christ as the main subject of awkwardness, and not God in general. People seem to mean different things when they talk about God, people from all over the world and various religions, so God can remain vague, in a way, nondescript and nonbinding. But not Jesus. He was a flesh and blood man who walked upon the earth in a very particular time and a very particular place. If we only talked about him as a man, as a good man, a charismatic man who inspired devoted followers to break with ordinary life and live in a radically loving way, the conversations about him would be interesting, educational, and uplifting, as he would be one of many good men who left a mark in the history of the world. You might read a book about Buddha, watch a movie about Gandhi, hear a speech from Martin Luther King Jr., or like a meme quoting Lao-tzu, and have the same kind of feeling about this man, Jesus of Nazareth.
But when we talk about Jesus as the Son of God, as God incarnate, as a man who was not only fully human, but also fully divine, well…that’s pretty bold. To believe that God intentionally created human beings with particular love, love so profound and powerful that God chose to become one of us and live among us…astonishingly bold. And to believe the testimony of the people who knew this man, this Jesus, and who saw him crucified by the Romans and then rise from the dead, alive again…yes, overwhelmingly audacious to state that this is true.
Yet, here we are about to celebrate Easter, commemorating the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Uncomfortable with religion, feeling awkward expressing our heartfelt beliefs, we may simply want to wish people a Happy Easter, decorate our homes with flowers, rabbits, and brightly colored eggs, and talk about spring.
Perhaps we are uncomfortable speaking about matters of faith, because we are uncomfortable with our faith. Perhaps college professors have taught us that Christianity is merely one myth among many myths invented by human beings, or perhaps we’ve read that same kind of thing in a book, like I did. Such things are cheaply said and published. There were times and places where people would have been exiled or jailed by society for NOT believing in the resurrection of Jesus, but not today. Maybe shunning still happens in some families, but definitely not in our mainstream culture. In fact, just the opposite seems to be the case. In our society, we Christians are often treated as superstitious fools, unenlightened sheep, or poor sops who need a fairytale in order to cope. Boldness is required. We need the courage of those who testified to their eyewitness of the Resurrection at the risk their own lives.
Christ has risen! He is truly risen.
What happened 2000 years ago is still true today, of course. And what it means for us, for our immortal souls, for our lives after death, is likewise astonishing. Maybe we think that what we believe as Christians is just too good to be true. But don’t worry. It’s not all Easter sunshine. Resurrection joy is dependent upon Good Friday pain. We believe in the fullness of life, the fullness of reality: the crown and the cross, the glory and the agony. Don’t be fooled.
We will dress in our pastel best, adorn homes and food with signs of new life, and give sweet treats to our children. Let us also be bold. The true joy of Easter will only be ours with courage: you and I have committed to faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and the resurrection of our own bodies at the end of time in the life of the world to come. Let’s be bold enough to break past our discomfort and sense of awkwardness and proclaim the Good News, not just to the choir and fellow believers, but to everyone, including and especially our friends and family members who may not believe as we believe.
So I have written, so now let me also do.
© 2019 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.