Stripping Away the Paint: The Year COVID [Didn’t] Cancel Easter

It has been lamented by some that Easter has been cancelled by COVID. But that’s impossible. You cannot cancel that which has already taken place.

At the turn of the century, furniture was lovingly and painstakingly hewn by tradesmen who had spent their entire lives learning to understand the intricate beauty of the woods with which they practiced their crafts. They knew that the scars, inconsistencies, and knots in the wood only added to its beauty, not distracted from it. The pieces they turned out were masterpieces, each and every one.

As the years passed, however, people lost sight of the artisan’s original vision, and their comprehension of the beauty became skewed. They began applying layer after layer of glossy, smooth, colorful paint to conceal the ‘imperfections’ of the master craftsman’s original plan. As decades passed, so did color fads, and even more paint was applied to cover the untrendy palettes. And eventually many chipped, dirty, painted pieces ended up in children’s rooms covered in stickers and marker and eventually in thrift shops, their painstaking origins completely forgotten.

Eventually, an antique enthusiast would come along with his/her harsh chemicals and rough sanders and strip away the decades of paint, decor, and gloss that had been covering up the original workmanship, revealing once again the breathtaking beauty of the raw wood. The stripping away of old paint is a difficult, stinky, and sometimes painful process with profound results.

You see, Easter is not unlike this piece of furniture.

The Cross was lovingly and painstakingly hewn by the master craftsman, himself – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Easter is His masterpiece of salvation.

He willingly gave His life nailed to a rough piece of wood as the ultimate sacrifice and payment for our sins and then overcame death to rise again that we too may experience eternal life. It’s an incredibly beautiful act of pure love on the surface; but one that is certainly marked by the scars of the nails driven through his hands and the knotholes of treachery and violence that mar humanity.

Easter is a bloody, vile tale. But Jesus knew it only added to the breathtaking beauty of that empty tomb, not distracted from it.

Over the years, however, Christians have lost sight of the artisan’s original vision, and our comprehension of its beauty became skewed. We began to add layers of color and gloss over the bloody Cross to conceal the ugly ‘imperfections’ of God’s plan. As decades passed, the raw beauty of the Cross was all but lost beneath layers upon layers of colorful eggs, toy-laden baskets, fancy clothes, chocolate treats, and egg-hiding bunnies. As decades passed, so did the tolerance of Biblical truth, and we layered even more traditions, feasts, and egg hunts to cover what many consider an untrendy palette.

Eventually, Easter’s painstaking origins became obscured, glossed over, and largely forgotten, replaced by the more comfortable, sticker and dye-covered, bunny delivered, secular approved, children’s version of the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, this virus is a nasty bit of business. I hate everything about it. And let’s all just agree that God’s original plan for humanity was without death or sickness. But we humans blew that big time; enter sickness and COVID. No, this horrible pandemic is not God’s plan; it is a consequence of our own brokenness. But He does promise to use even the terrible things our sin inflicts upon the earth to glorify his kingdom.

COVID is like a harsh chemical or perhaps a rough piece of sandpaper on our socially acceptable version of Jesus. What COVID has essentially done is to strip away all of the layers upon layers of gloss and paint that Christianity has coated the Cross in – all the pomp, all of the circumstance, all of the commercialism, all of the ritual – to reveal the beautiful raw truth of the real Easter as it was originally intended by the master artisan.

Deity taking on human flesh. A horrible, bloody death on a cross. An empty tomb. And a savor that is very much alive today.

This is the year that COVID didn’t cancel Easter, but rather the year it stripped away the glossy paint and revealed to us the breathtaking beauty of the raw Cross as it was actually fashioned to be. After all, you can’t cancel something that has already happened.

He is risen. Amen!?

Beautifully, brokenly yours,

Angelia

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