You’ve probably been to a mainly music session that focused on the message of Easter this week, maybe last week, and for some of you, the group might repeat the session after the Easter break.
Maybe the message of Easter is spinning in your head and you’ve got a few questions.
Recently I entered into a conversation with a gentleman who I literally bumped into – he was looking for a book to jump off the shelves in a retail store. I was buying one for my cousin from that section, and as the gentleman looked lost, I recommended the book I had read and was buying.
As I was about to go out the door of the shop, he bumped into me again. This time to show me that my recommendation had been taken up and he had a copy of the leadership book I recommended. It was in this interaction that a discussion about the meaning of Easter took place. I’ll bring you into the discussion which occurred following my explanation of a couple of leadership learnings I had had after reading the book.
Man: “I think moments like these are magic.”
Me: “I don’t think of them as magic. I think of them as God moments.”
Man: “Yes, I do too. Like God is everywhere, in everyone, you know, like in all things.”
Me: “Well, the God I’m talking about is the One who I know through the life of Jesus.”
Man: “Oh.” Pause. “Then can I ask you a question?”
Me: “Sure you can.”
Man: “I’ve heard Jesus dying on the cross for my sins is a free gift. How does that work?”
Me: Picking up a Doc McStuffins puzzle box from the display next to where we stood!
“If I wrap up this gift with nice paper and a beautiful bow and say to you, Here’s a gift for you. And you take it and put it on a shelf. You admire the paper. You admire the beautiful bow. But you never actually open it. Imagine that. Imagine never knowing that I’d given you a Doc McStuffins puzzle. Imagine never having the pleasure of making up that puzzle.
Well, that’s like Jesus. He’s the free gift from God. Reading about Jesus’ life in the Bible and taking note of what He did and putting it in action helps us understand who God is.
But if we never read the Bible and if we never pray and talk with God and if we never put His teachings into action and believe in God, we never get to open that gift. Just like the Doc McStuffins puzzle. It’ll sit on the shelf and we’ll never understand who God is and how much He loves us. We can read about Jesus’ life and what He taught in the New Testament section of the Bible.
The great thing about the Christian faith as opposed to other faith systems is that God has given Jesus as His free gift whereas other faith systems require you to do life better and do actions that are deemed to be good so that you will be liked by that god.”
Is that how you’ve understood this gift of Easter?
Will you leave the free gift on the shelf or unwrap it and check out what Jesus did and taught and in doing so, find out who God is?
If you’d like a copy of the New Testament, that this gentleman agreed he needed to read, talk to your mainly music leader – or send me an email with your address and I’ll arrange a copy for you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jo Hood wrote this posting after her real encounter in a Whitcoulls store (this was not written for a blog – it’s not faux news – it actually happened, despite how random that sounds). One of her favourite New Zealand stores is Whitcoulls and she hasn’t found anything quite like anywhere else in the world.