An Easter Reflection – God Experienced Something … New?

You know when a rock n’ roll band releases a new album and they say something like, “This is our best ever yet.”? That’s how I feel about the holidays in recent years. Throughout my adult years, I have always liked Easter and the last few years have been wonderful and this one may have been the most meaningful yet. Can’t really put my finger on one exact thing but I do know the more I put into the season of Lent, the more beautiful they tend to be. Reading through the Gospels, focusing on certain aspects of the Easter story, fasting, my community and of course, having children, have a lot to do with it.

The past two years, the Gospel of Mark has really been special for me. Reading Tim Keller’s The King’s Cross (which was based on Mark) was a helpful devotional for the season. I also found myself talking a lot about the atonement. I cannot recommend enough Scot McKnight’s Community of Atonement which worked its way into two weeks of youth group lessons. I would even say that the “Rob Bell controversy” was a blessing to my Lent as I can not recall a time that I have talked about the topic of salvation (soteriology) more with fellow believers.

I also gave up coffee and Guinness this year. If you know me, you know I like coffee. I drank a lot of green tea in it’s place which is a healthy alternative but always reminded me that it wasn’t as enjoyable as good coffee. Regarding the beer, I’m not a huge beer drinker and I really only like a few. Guinness is by far my favorite. At my favorite pub, they pour one for me as soon as I walk in the door. Now understand, I know that giving up coffee and Guinness is not real suffering. I gave these up because they are things I really enjoy – they are the small rewards that sometimes whisper to me, “life is good”. (If your coffee isn’t whispering to you, it’s probably because you are drinking Folgers and is part of the unethical treatment of global coffee farmers – buy fair trade my friends).

If I had to pick my one theme that I was blessed by this year, it would have to be the Father watching His Son suffer. I know He raises Jesus back to life but that’s another matter entirely. I’m moved by the Father’s role in all of this. It could be that we are parents now and I’m all sensitive about fatherhood but I think it’s also that most of the sermons I hear and lessons I give are from Jesus’ perspective (which is of course, a fantastic and necessary perspective). But this year, I wondered how God could have watched. I know He is omniscient, I know He is omnipotent, I know He loves humanity and wants to offer the world redemption. I know God is just and merciful, I know He is Jesus, etc – I know all these things. But I still wonder and that is good because it’s an exercise that draws me nearer the Father’s heart.

One of my favorite aspects of the Christian faith is that we serve a God that got His hands dirty and bloody for our sake. A God that lost everything – A God that died. Which is utterly crazy in some sense – I mean there has to be another way, right?

As it turns out, there wasn’t. Justice and Love are demonstrated in their highest forms at Calvary. God had delivered His people in many ways before but dying was new. This is humbling, beautiful and downright amazing. I know my words fail to capture the grandeur of it. And I know we can only appreciate the glory of the resurrection when we have grieved the crucifixion of Jesus but this Lent it became clearer to me that God experienced a different type of love for His creation when He suffered on our behalf. In this sense, God experienced something He had never experienced before.God experienced something new? I tell you, this truth drew me in closer.


  1. The Slothful One says:

    “A God that lost everything – A God that died. Which is utterly crazy in some sense…”

    How does the “impassible” God “suffer”? How does He Who is Life be said to have “tasted death”?

    Trying to ease you back into posting again ;-)

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