It's Saturday morning. Holy Saturday. The morning of the biggest evening in Christianity. I'm sitting over coffee considering how the world, how the people of this country, even the people of the town I sit in, are preparing for this great event. And my answer seems to be... well, quietly.
Lent stormed into College Park (where I am a college chaplain) like an 18-wheeler full of beer on it's way to a frat house. Everyone showed up and they wanted to show their colors by wearing the ashes distributed so many Wednesdays ago. "Yeah, I'm Catholic," their presence stated. "Let me have some of them ashes!" You see, people, no matter how 'individualistic,' want to belong, to be a part of something bigger than themselves - even those who pride themselves on being most individualistic - college kids. They displayed their ashes and many even went to confession that day, desiring to start over once again in their relationship with God (it is the Year of Mercy, after all!).
And then something strange set in. Lent. So many days and nights of preparing for something bigger, greater, more important than ourselves. Christians spend Lent trying to 'get over themselves' (at least ideally that's what we do) - emptying ourselves of ourselves. It's a time of re-ordering ourselves and our lives, by means of giving up our false gods and allowing the one true God His rightful place - the top rung of our lives.
And yet this is not easy to do at all. I struggle with this so very much. My friends and family struggle with this as do the students and others at University of Maryland I serve. Why do we struggle? Some say Christians should have it all figured out and if we don't, well then it's all a sham. Well, rest assured - we don't have 'it' figured out. We sin just like everyone else, we fall just like everyone else. And that's the problem for so much of the world - it's difficult to come to terms with what may seem like failure in the face of religion. Our world worships success, and this does not sound like success.
But for the Christian who understands who they are and, much more importantly, who Christ is - we aren't worried about success. We are striving not for that temporal virtue, but rather for the true gift from God - the gift of faith.
Which takes me back to the start. My coffee now cold, I still consider how our world prepares. Easter is not Christmas. Besides a few people complaining about the shape of their Reese's Easter eggs (I'll take em if you don't like em!), there's not much secular noise about Easter. I suppose that's because there's not much the secular world can celebrate with Easter. It's a call for us to see ourselves humbly - literally on the ground level. To see ourselves as not successful in this religion we call Christianity (and don't fool yourselves - we are NOT successful by any means) - but rather striving to rely clearly, passionately - and yet imperfectly - on no one but Jesus Himself.
That's the reality of Easter. Not as slick as Christmas, but still more important. Because without it, Jesus is just another guy, and we are still without hope. But with it, with the Passion, Death and Resurrection of God made man - we're offered a share in his divine life. And that's a whole lot better than peanut butter eggs and Peeps.