Over the last two weeks, my trip to The Holy Land Experience keeps coming up in conversation. During my course on Corinthians and the Greco-Roman view of the human body, the white tinkerbell Jesus of the HLE’s passion play came up as a valid juxtaposition between modern concepts of body and what Paul thought. And in my New Testament survey course, the conversation surrounding Revelation and the macho/feminized Jesus brought to mind the image of Peter in the Scriptorium where he looks bigger than the Hulk. And, with the vigil of Easter currently being kept, the lack of solemnity when it comes to the Easter Story at the Holy Land Experience has bled into my own self-reflection. Because, in a lot of ways, this has been one of my least solemn lenten experiences since I’ve returned to church. And I’m not sure how to feel about that.
My preparation for these Holy Days has consisted of me posting web comics to Facebook, ironing while shaking my booty to mashups, and spending more (than usual) late nights out. I really didn’t give anything up nor did I take on any discipline. Sure, I’ve been reading the bible a lot, doing theological reflections, participating in worship, led a study of the Augsburg Confession, and even preached once. And I do feel like I’ve done holy things. But things felt just a tad more…bright this season? I’m not sure what it was but I felt a lack of centerness this season.
While I ironed my new Easter shirt (besides realizing that entering ordained ministry means that if I decide to have a new outfit for each easter, my wife will get upset with the number of chasubles, copes, and stoles that I spend our money on), I started to come up with reasons why I felt this way. I thought of the unusually warm and sunny winter we had (which was awesome!), the fact that I’m still digesting what it means to celebrate Lent and the Passion while living in a post-resurrection reality, and that I was just too tired doing other things to take anything else on. And, sure, all of those reasons might have applied, but I think the big one is that there’s a little person joining our family soon. It is difficult to withdraw, to scale back, when everything is about to change. And I’m ridiculously excited about this change because, well, there’s a lot of hope in this little guy entering the world. It’s an incarnational story for me – which is Jesus’ story (of course). There’s life here. So, I think, that the big difference between this Lent and Easter and previous ones, for me, is that as new life grows and develops in K, and as we prep ourselves for his entering into our world, I’m just focused on the hope of new life. I’m stuck on the beauty in the life giving act of God on the cross. The Good in Good Friday is the highlight for me this year. I’m in no rush to Easter or the resurrection; I’m in no rush to bypass Lent and enter the Easter season. There’s new life right here, right now, and I can live with that today. Is this theologically sound? Probably not. But I’ve decided that he’s got my forehead, k’s chin and lips, and my nose.