I want you to imagine that you go to a dear friend’s funeral. He died suddenly, violently a few days ago. You, his other friends and family are sitting in the pews – shell shocked – waiting for the service begin. But before it does, the guy who’s supposed to have died walks in and sits down next to you.
How would you respond?
Art has an amazing ability to evoke all sorts of emotions – happiness, sadness, awe, anger, excitement, wonder, pain … the full gamut.
As I was walking down Oxford Street Paddington (Sydney) in the week leading up to Easter 2013, this window display in a gay, fetish erotica store caught my eye.
No – ‘caught my eye’ is too soft! It confronted me. That’s much better.
When I saw it, my blood boiled, but …
Each year at Easter I am regularly disappointed by the comments of prominent church leaders in the media here in Australia. Easter is one of only two times in the year when they know that they’ll receive headline prominence in the newspaper, on radio and in every evening TV news bulletin.
So tell me this … why do the majority squander this amazing opportunity by being irrelevant, off message and even (apparently) bored, disinterested and completely devoid of passion in proclaiming the greatest Message of all?
Sound a bit harsh? You tell me!
But this year the Good Friday messages of more than one of the crimson clad clergy plumbed new depths in ineffective and destructive communication. Here’s why …
So besotted are we by the blood-red message of the Cross, that it’s all too easy to remain there at Calvary, glorying in what Christ did for us, without ever moving on to the second part of the Easter story.
And little wonder!!
But the message of Easter is a message of two equal parts. A message that takes place in two places. Up on a hill, and down in a garden. Up on a cross and down in a tomb. It’s a message about a new beginning … and an amazing future.
So let me ask you a question, also in two parts: What is the secret of the empty tomb? And what does it mean for your life, here and now?
Do you know what really scares me about Easter?
It’s that we’ve sanitised it. Cleaned it up. Turned it into a nice little religious celebration … and in doing so, I wonder whether we’re not completely missing the point.
I struggled as to whether I should use this confronting image on this blog post to depict what happened on ‘Good Friday’. I struggled with it because I thought I might offend someone. I struggled with it because I thought it might be hard for you to look at.
But then … Easter is offensive. Easter is difficult to look at. That’s what it is.
Well, Easter’s just round the corner, so what I’d like to know is what Easter really means to you. That’s what this poll is all about.
Now please understand – I’m not asking you to tell me what you think it should mean, but rather what your actual experience of Easter has been. (Don’t worry, the poll is totally anonymous. I can’t even tell who’s responded, let alone how someone’s answered.)