Our Easter 2014 (Justin)

EASTER

I mean, come on. This is what Easter is really about.

Maybe for somebody, that’s not too far from the truth. What is candy?

Candy: noun–any of a variety of confections made with sugar, syrup, etc. often combined with chocolate, fruit, nuts, etc. (thank you, Dictionary.com)

Something that makes us excited. Something that makes us smile. A reward for not indulging. Something to look forward to. Something to count on when we’re in a good mood. I think, sometimes, Jesus is my favorite candy bar. I don’t eat candy a lot anymore, but it makes me happy when I do. I usually only reach for it when I’m in a good mood already, and it makes me feel good to have when i’m “doing good”.

Today was not that kind of day, dude.

Today, that candy hurt. Eating that candy wasn’t necessary bad for me, but it hurt. Bad. Just like the truth, right? The truth of what the Son of God really died for. I mean, if you believe in all of that church crap.

Like I do.

Christians are all raised differently and on different degrees of providence and shelter. My brother and I, for example, went to public school our entire lives, but a lot of people I grew up with in the church were home-schooled and relatively sheltered from the secular sects of society that could cause them to stumble as kids or turn away from their spiritual roots as adults. My parents, even though I considered my pastor father a pretty strict guy, really let me get away with a lot of things. They had a couple of strict rules growing up, and my brother and I did a lot of pretty stupid things that definitely deserved punishment. But ultimately, it felt very much like our parents were only trying to protect us.

protect: verb–keep safe from harm or injury (thanks, Google.)

(Spoilers) The classic giant-robot/war drama anime Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) revolves around 15-year old protagonist Amuro Ray and 20-year old antagonist Char Aznable. Although they duel on and off throughout the groundbreaking series, they don’t actually meet face-to-face until the near-end of the series, where they realize they are in love with the same woman, Lalah Sune, who shares a deep psychic and emotional connection with both men, though she herself is in love with Char and is sided with him in the war. Her fate is ultimately tragic as she is forced to fight Amuro–to the death, as they are in wartime–and her fate is sealed with finality as she tries to protect Char. Yet even more tragic than the events that follow is that, with two men trying to protect her, they both ultimately, though unintentionally, allow the opposite to happen. The franchise subsequently revisits the topic, and the two men, through both friendship and hatred, define this event in their lives as the one moment that bound them together. (Yeah I cried about it back in the day. So what?)

Jesus Christ died to protect us, and it was his sacrifice, his death and resurrection, that bound us to him, his Father, and to other believers all over the globe. I couldn’t really go to church today and just treat Christ like a candy bar I could bite out of and get my fill, my sugar high, let it die out during the week and then come back to it next weekend for another bite. This Easter weekend at church I lead the spoken word segment from Kari Jobe’s worship song “Forever”, and I told Allie that every time I’m on stage at church, it’s either the true, bare, real me up there leading, or a total facade; a mask. Nothing in between. Today I felt it was the real me up there, which is why it hurt so much. This was a powerful weekend of worship and celebration for the greatness of our God but man, being reminded of my humanity is always a momentary downer. Yesterday was my birthday (I’m freaking 25!) and Allie set up an incredible surprise party for me. But today, all I could really think of was the revisiting topic of my struggles with sexual sin. I get so frightened to tell the truth because I’m afraid people are going to define me by what I do…or worse yet, define me by what I’ve done in the past. Including Allie. Which leads to what, you ask? Uh, cowardice.

If Amuro ever had an opportunity to ask Lalah if protecting Char was worth her pain, I wonder what she would really say. For better or for worse, she died for the person she loved. She clearly was not a coward. It’s a reminder to me, in my nerdy anime brain, that Christ died for those that he loved and took our place to confront death and defeat him. He is willing to let us fall in certain pits to see us grow into the men and women that were born to love like He called us to…but more on that later.

May we remember Romans 8:35-39. You know…we are more than conquerors? Read it.

For my non-Christian friends and readers, I apologize–I never intend to use the Word of God as a fence to separate us, to keep us from anyone else’s beliefs or interests, or to use it to shove it down the throats of others. I’m just not a fan of sugarcoating my beliefs. I’m a liar, an addict, a hypocrite, a weakling, and a coward. That’s why I’m a Christian, because without Christ…I would only be getting better at becoming those things each day. I’m 25 now. A quarter of a freaking century. And each new day, is a day for me to realize I have the opportunity, and the power, to man up.

Put your bunnies down and pick up your crucifix 🙂

We love you. Knack, out.

P.S. Did you check out our WEBSITE yet?

 

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