Easter: Awkward or Bold
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
Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
Happy Easter to you and your family Christina
Sent from my iPhone
And a happy, blessed Easter to you and yours!
Best thing I’ve heard all day! (And now I feel impelled to make a little joke, like: “So I didn’t even have to go to church after all.) *
See, I am uncomfortable even about writing a serious comment. But I’m sure glad that you overcame any awkwardness or reluctance. Where does that come from anyway?
I think it’s likely that we both know.
But what I mostly know for sure is that I’m glad you have access to so much technology, and that I have some. It is very important to me to listen as you talk into your machine. Another miracle, sort of– your machine, but also the gift of language and the opportunity to talk, to meet others without meeting, to think thoughts that come through the air, to be encouraged and suppoeted by this strange kind of contact. It’s as if I am hearing voices, or maybe having some kind of vision, or visit from Beyond. Whatever it is, I’ll take it, cherish it, and try not to forget it.
So Christina, if we ever actually meet, I wonder what the conversation would be like. Maybe I don’t really want to know. This is good. This is more than enoigh.
Gratefully, Albert (Al)
* I didn’t “actually” go to church, but in a way I did. I would like to attend next Sunday at the Eastern Christian Pascha, but it starts at 10:00 p.m. and ends around 3:30 a.m., and then there’s a celebratory break-fast meal, so I would not get home until maybe dawn. My Dear says I’m too old to drive at night, and that I need my sleep, and anyway God and Jesus (See how hard it is to talk about this?) would understand. So BIG church for me is often a meal at home or a quiet few moments in the back yard.
Wow, my Eastern brothers and sisters are really committed! Is there no other Sunday service that they offer which you could attend? I’m about to be bold… Ready?
It saddens me, little Al, if you do not give yourself the chance of being in the presence of Christ’s Real Presence in this holiest time of the year. Yes, every time is holy, and Christ is present in our family meals, the beauty of nature, and the quiet of our hearts. But God made Himself vulnerably present, so little, sublimely good and generous in the Eucharist, the sacraments, the mysteries, and would love for you to find Him there on the anniversary of His greatest pain. God knows that the difficulties and infirmities of our lives often render us unable to attend the solemnities and receive, and in those times His merciful love responds fully to our seeking of Him. So God, of course, understands if you are not able. I only personally hope that you may be somehow, somewhere. Only for your sake, certainly not for mine, because I, well, like God I guess, am happy with you anywhere. I missed several Sundays with my knee injury and it would be very easy to miss several more when I get out of habit like that if my parents weren’t going to church anyway.
I do feel very bold! And awkward. 🙂 Thank you for letting me try my bold experiment on you, Al! Your responses always bring me a smile and a feeling of connection. Mysterious indeed how hearts and minds can connect through time and space. I’m grateful for your encouragement, inspiration, affection, and your suppoet. (Don’t know if your misspell was intentional, but it should have been if it wasn’t!) With love,
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I can’t claim it, but I like it! Suppoet. My tablet keeps trying to correct it. I wonder how it got there.
The ancient Roman writer Virgil thought that poets sometimes were inspired, literally, and some early and medieval Christian wrters seemed to agree, taking as an example a few lines from one of Virgil’s Eclogues which they claim are a prophesy of Christ’s birth, even though Virgil composed the poem 40 years previously in a “pagan” culture. (Wandering here, maybe trying to avoid talking about your boldness. But I do like “suppoet.” Lots of possible interpretations. e.g. “supper poet,” “sub-poet,” “support poet” — and I’m just getting started. . . Which will keep me distracted until I fall asleep. It’s late. I’m old. I’m told. Bold is beautiful, but youthful too, I think. I grew up at a time when parents never argued in front of the children, didn’t discuss politics or religion in public, and heaven forbid that they should demonstrate affection in front of us. Hard to shake off habits. Why I even have a hard time with confession, much less confessing faith. but I believe I can try. Thank you, Miss C. for being out there.
1: to support (officially or unofficially) a fellow poet (official or unofficial)
2: to lean upon poetry for guidance in the world
3: to uplift, encourage, or advise another with the use of poetry or in a poetic way
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I should have written “Hoping Week.” That’s what I meant to say. The other is too close to another word. Plus, it’s the wrong tone for the subject. Please forgive. Trying for clever here is just an unemboldened dodge.
I like “Hoping Week” (or its diminutive, Hopey Week 😀 ) Looking up some Scripture… “Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) Also in 1 Peter 1:15, “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.” (I do love my Google searches!) Anyway, I don’t believe that I am capable of being holy as Christ is holy… unless holiness — being set apart for divine purpose — is about trying. That’s my hope. I hope that trying counts. But even with that, I admit that I do not always try to serve God in every aspect of my conduct. Bold in confession now, I will tell you that I’m not sure that I even want to. I hope that there is a way for me to do the things that I enjoy that seem to have nothing to do with God in such a way that I can see that they have everything to do with God. Can I watch a football game and be holy? Maybe I can. We certainly are not all called to live a monastic life. And perfection does not lie here.
Anyway, I’m rambling a bit because I’m supposed to be working on my book right now, but am putting it off. An “unemboldened dodge” ❤
I do pray that you may be able to soak in some of the holiness descending "like an ungentle rain" (that was lovely)
“. . . there is a way for me to do the things that I enjoy that seem to have nothing to do with God in such a way that I can see that they have everything to do with God.” This bears repeating,, elaborating upon, discussing further, praying about. Thank you, Christina.
Thank YOU Al! I will follow you in this and use what comes of it for a future post! ❤
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Our family is 75% comprised of partaking of the same faith. The other 25% believe in God and Our Savior, Jesus. I love the deversatity of how we express our mutual love for Christ! However; I am considered the “brain-washed” one because I openly discuss faith & do not hide the active participation within my own Church, which I hold dear! 🤣😂🤣😂 “You’ve been brain-washed” was actually shouted at me by an endearing family member, who’d had enough with my praying before meals. “No one should HAVE to pray, if they do not want to.” Agreed. My reply, “But if one chooses to, they should not be made to feel awkward for doing so.” Welcome to my world!! 🤣😂🤣😂 Good thing we have Scripture to console us, giggles!! 😘
I admire your boldness! 🙂 When I’m brave enough to be public about my faith or talk about prayer (which is not often, I confess) what I usually get is unspoken, but clear in the condescension of their look: “Isn’t that sweet? Poor thing needs the comfort of her religion.” Aargh. But you’re inspiring me to get up my courage and let them think what they will. Who are the truly brainwashed ones anyway? The ones that think they can have a good and healthy relationship with someone without ever talking about them or to them. The ones that believe in the afterlife for their souls but don’t give much time or thought to the now life..
Yes, let us be foolish in the eyes of men and wise in the ways of God!
(Enjoyed a quick trip over to your blog, by the way)
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Thank you, Christina! I only wish I merited the boldness you mention. I’m actually very timid regarding my faith around those I know who do not agree with me. But this occasion was a blessed one and I hope to claim the ‘holy boldness’ we are all called to have (one day!) Yes, indeed let us be foolish in the eyes of men and wise in the ways of God! Thanks for the kind encouragement!
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P.S. I’ll tell you about Pascha another time . Right now it’s Holy Week. I’m not feeling very holy, but there’s still hope. I’d like to call it Hopey Week. Besides, Easterners sometimes say no one is holy but God. Of course God is in the liturgy and rituals in a stark way this week, where holiness descends like an ungentle rain. . .
Great post! Jesus, in flesh and blood, true God and true Man, is impossible to gloss over or generalize. His love is real and tangible. Funny that it is easier for us to embrace an abstraction than a man.
I like the way you put that, because, of course, we can’t “embrace” an abstraction— that’s the amazing gift of God in the flesh. Thank you for reflecting with me! I enjoyed the flash fiction piece on your blog about the 14-year-old girl and the tangible effects of Easter here and now.
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