Wow! It is finally here. The church is full of life with Easter decoration as we celebrate the Resurrection.
Yes, it is an odd story and really easy not to believe. The point is that God loves us to the end, no matter how far we wander, no matter how we feel about ourselves. God's love is expressed in the way which we understand as ultimate love, in the most horrendous death on a cross.
This is not what God does, right? That is what people at the time thought. God is high in heaven, steering things from a distance. But they had wandered away from the ideal of social care and justice for all people. Jesus comes to restore that message of God's love and to make clear that ideas of violence, oppression and trampling on the poor are just not God's way.
The crucifixion is hard to understand. There are different ways of seeing it. Some of those ways can make us feel fairly worthless, as if God sees us as basically terrible and we must spend our lives trying to climb out of a pit of darkness in order to get to heaven. I think God sees us as amazing and wonderful and beloved and will go to any lengths to show us that the Old Testament promises have been transformed into a new way of living and loving.
In that light, perhaps the Resurrection makes more sense. Jesus returns and in that return brings us hope that we can let go of ourselves in perfect love. We can die to self and rise to new life in Him. It is a big, big deal. We walk one step at a time. Today as we walk we sing "Alleluia! Christ is Risen", and then we get on with the job of being His body in the world.