Easter offers a glimpse of a better world

Published 12:46 pm Sunday, March 31, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Chris Adams

In my religious tradition, we call this weekend the Three Sacred Days. There’s a Latin word for it that’s hard to spell and much harder to pronounce. Beginning on the evening of Maundy Thursday and concluding on Easter Sunday, Christians all around the world celebrate the events of Jesus of Nazareth and his crucifixion. On Maundy Thursday, we remember how he washed the dirty feet of his friends even as he knew people were coming to claim his life. On Good Friday, we remember the abject horror of the cross. On Easter Sunday, we tell the story about the power of light and love triumphing over the gloomy shroud of death.

But you’ve heard these stories before. Most people have. They’ve been making movies about Jesus and his crucifixion since movies have been made. Passion Plays take place all over the world, and there’s even famous ones that have existed for hundreds of years in a line of unbroken performances. As with any story, familiarity breeds comfort. And when we are too comfortable and familiar with the story, its power can be lost.

As a priest, every year I’m tasked with preaching about these stories in new and fresh ways that don’t sound like I’m repeating the same sermon year after year. This task is a hard one, but it’s worthwhile. At the heart of the Easter story is a story of selfless love that wants humanity to grow up and flourish. It’s the story of a peasant rabbi who started a revolution of love that can still be felt today. It’s the story of a God who wants to save us from our worst impulses and does so by choosing to share in our own struggles and pain. It’s a story of a light that shows us that the way to be better than we were yesterday is by choosing to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is a story that invites us to imagine a better world than the one we see out our window right now.

While I regret the ways that the church has acted in history that as made its message ring false, I don’t want to be beholden to the failures of the past. Easter offers us a glimpse of the better world that is possible and how that world can only come to pass when we learn to love one another selflessly and without reservation. That is the love that we see on the cross and that the grave could not hold down. If the grave could not hold love down then, what is stopping us now? Whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if we loved one another a little bit more. Let’s make The Beatles proud huh? All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Chris Adams is the Rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.