Practicing the liturgical calendar is like participating in immersive theater. Through fasting, feasting, rites, and rituals, we walk into the story of Jesus. In Advent, we lean into longing and wait together for the coming King. At Christmas, we lay babies in makeshift mangers and enter into the Incarnation. During Lent, we smear ashes on our foreheads and remember sin and death. All of it builds to the big moment: Easter Sunday.
For Christians, this is the World Series, the crescendo of the symphony, the climax of the play. This is what we’ve been sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for all year. But this year: nothing. The game is canceled in its final inning. The horn section left in the middle of the concerto. The theater caught fire in the third act.
As a priest, this feels incredibly unsatisfying. Sure, we’ll livestream services. The Word will be proclaimed. But it isn't the same. Something is clearly lost.
And yet, the solid fact remains that Christians do not make Easter through our worship and our calendar. Jesus rose from the dead, and even if it were never acknowledged en masse, it would remain the fixed point around which time itself turns. The truth of the Resurrection is wild and free. It possesses us more than we could ever possess it and rolls on happily with no need of us, never bending to our opinions of it. If the claims of Christianity are true, they are true with or without me. On any given day, my ardent belief or deep skepticism doesn’t alter reality one hair’s breadth.
Believers and skeptics alike often approach the Christian story as if its chief value is personal, subjective, and self-expressive. We come to faith primarily for how it comforts us or helps us cope or ...1
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