No Bunnies Were Harmed in the Plot Twist
Growing up, my parents used to tell me and my sisters the reason we don’t celebrate Easter is that Easter is every day in our hearts. They said the same thing whenever Christmas rolled around, too. (Still doesn’t explain why we didn’t really celebrate birthdays or other major life events — but that’s another rabbit hole for another day.)
Easter Sunday gets a lot of buzz, and it’s mostly for good reason. Beyond the filled-to-the-brim church venues (or capped-out Facebook livestreams in these ‘Rona times), the chocolates balled up into egg-shaped treats, and the bevy of bedazzled bunnies, Easter represents to Christianity its north star. Without the resurrection of Christ, the core Christian message of eternal hope is a tough sell. But in conjunction with the significance of the cross, the empty tomb drives home the point that this isn’t our final home.
If the cross is the plot device, the resurrection is the plot twist.
We all expected that story to zig (Death wins every time), and instead, it zagged (Death, where is your sting?). And boy is that a good thing.
But what if my parents were right? What if Easter doesn’t end on Sunday when the church service is over (or the livestream stops broadcasting)? What if it should really be every day in our hearts?
[.highlight__wrapper][.highlight__text]If the cross is the plot device, the resurrection is the plot twist.[.highlight__text][.highlight__wrapper]
I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis once wrote: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
My parents were right. I feel like I might puke.
But hear me out. What if Christians, churches, and church leaders had the chance to be better? Instead of staying silent on Asian American discrimination and xenophobia, what if there was louder dissent? Instead of being the reason why millennials are leaving the church, what if our words, actions, and vision could convince them to stay?
The plot twist of the empty tomb matters.
A wise person once said, “What makes the gospel offensive isn’t who it keeps out, but who it lets in.” A couple of days removed from Easter, I’m reminded there’s still work left to be done until Christians largely reflect a Christ who made Pharisees genuinely uncomfortable with the company he kept and the capacity for the love he displayed.
But I’m also reminded of why I began writing in the first place: to inspire Christians and leaders to acknowledge their blind spots on matters of faith, culture, and the future church… while I grapple with my own biases or ignorance of these things.
It’s why I write about mental health and the church. And the church too movement. Call me a dreamer, but I believe we can be better about telling people about the gravity of the empty tomb and the impact of a resurrected savior if we learn to grapple with the gray we’re all uncomfortable talking about.
The truth is, Christians don’t always have their messaging right. And we especially don’t have our behavior figured out. We just don’t see that unless somebody points it out.
[.highlight__wrapper][.highlight__text]I don’t write short pieces like this one.[.highlight__text][.highlight__wrapper]
In recent years, I’ve become comfortable with the 10,000-word projects that take dozens of hours to stitch together. The latter challenges me like the former just can’t. But I’m ready for a plot twist.
I aim to write shorter pieces like this one more often. Because I want to observe, share, and learn from readers whose perspectives I have either not yet considered or have been too afraid to explore. And also because I want to learn on the way to writing about my thoughts on being a Pro-Choice Christian or what it means when somebody tells you they’re a gay Christian. There’s a time and place for the longer pieces, too, I imagine.
I believe being days removed from Easter Sunday gives us all the opportunity to explore the substantial caverns we’ve yet to cross on our journeys to truly practicing what we preach. And I hope, for the world we’ve yet to rally to the promise of that empty grave, we’re ready to unpack what makes the gospel so offensive. Unlearning our biases and grappling with discomfort is a major plot twist — I get that. It should make us all a little bit uneasy. But I can assure you it’ll be worth our while. ■