Easter is underrated.
Here we have a holiday celebrating one of the greatest underdog stories and unexpected plot twists of all time, and all we do to celebrate it in the West is to wear pastels and eat some rodent-shaped chocolate.
Easter is the day Christians remember every Sunday, the day that Jesus was supposed to have come back from the dead. That resurrection was seen not just a revival of one body but as a signal of a shift: death and corruption and violence no longer has the final word in human affairs. By the Jewish belief of Jesus’s earliest followers, Jesus resurrected meant that the general resurrection and renewal of the whole world had begun.
The rise of a Platonic philosophy-inspired otherworldly focus in Christianity – one that denied the restoration of the physical world in favor of an ethereal afterlife in heaven – understandably put a damper on things.
Anglican theologian N.T. Wright thinks Christians have “under-done” Easter for at least a millennium since forgetting these Jewish roots of the resurrection idea:
“[Easter] is about the real Jesus coming out of the real tomb and getting God’s real new creation underway.
[Easter] ought to be an eight-day festival … [W]e should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind.
[I]f Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. . . . The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving.”
Tonight I’m doing my bit to reverse the trend of dourness in Christian holy days. I’ll be celebrating the Feast of Resurrection with a church of Orthodox Christians from midnight to 2 or 3 AM in the morning. I expect a tremendous amount of culture shock (apparently they kiss each other on the cheek to say “hello”), rowdy chanting, drinking, sacred theatrics, and feasting. We’re celebrating the person who turned water into wine and was accused of being a carouser and a wino. We at least have to party as hard as Jesus must have.
Frankly, I’m terrified. But tomorrow we commemorate the greatest underdog story/plot twist in history. So perhaps the best way to celebrate it is to do the uncomfortable and unexpected.
The first Christians saw Easter not just as a cause for celebration but as a call to live “resurrected” lives. Whether the story of Jesus resurrected means anything to you or not, you probably know what it’s like to see things around you or in your life die, physically or metaphorically. Go find and do the things that make for life. Put another way”
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
Happy Easter, y’all. Party on, and be most excellent to each other.
Oh, here’s a cover of my favorite Easter song I recorded in like, two takes in my living room. Like I said, Easter is all about the unexpected and uncomfortable.
Happy Easter, y’all.