The Stay at Home order led to an “investment” in Legos for our family – trying to identify things that engaged the kids and that they could learn from as they enjoyed themselves. Lego sets got expensive quickly and the purchasing came to a halt. But this past Thursday I saw an advertisement pop up on my screen on Facebook that said, “Lego clearance 70-80% off.” I was shocked, because you don’t see Legos discounted like that. I clicked the link and saw so many sets listed at amazing prices and thought, ‘this is too good to be true.’ Everything on the site looked almost exactly the way it should, but something was slightly off. My excitement started to fade and I realized I was on a fraudulent website that had ‘Lego’ in the web address, but wasn’t quite the real thing. It had in fact been too good to be true.
Today, Easter Sunday, seems too good to be true. It seems like Peter should feel God’s wrath for denying Jesus, that the guilty convict on the cross next to Jesus that said ‘Remember me’ should receive his punishment for breaking the law, that each person as they sat and waited for ‘what was next’ and realized the depth of their depravity should experience judgement. Yet, the story of the empty tomb, of the risen Christ, of the man who met the disciples on the road and joined them for a meal, unlike the fraudulent stories and moments of ‘too good to be true’ that we experience every day, is in fact true.
Over the last two years we have developed Transformation Milestones at eduKenya. The first milestone, on which all the others hinge is ‘Christ Centered’. For us, Christ Centered means there is nothing that we can do, positive or negative, that separates us from God’s love. Christ on the cross, and his sacrifice defines us. He took on everything that doesn’t reflect God’s image and bore the judgement on our behalf and now we live in freedom, daily offering a response to His ultimate love with our lives. The freedom we have been given leads us to use our gifts and abilities, share our love and compassion, and live into who we were created to be as Children of God. A crucified and resurrected Christ means we are loved at a deeper level than than the depravity of our sin. We are defined by grace and mercy - we are not defined by our circumstances. We are defined by love. We sit here waiting for freedom from Coronavirus - from pain, loss, suffering, instability, and insecurity. We must be reminded on this Sunday, regardless of whether we are out enjoying family reunions, event gatherings, school, and work or isolated and lonely, hemmed in by something we can’t see or explain; whether we are living in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee or in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya, our circumstances may not look identical, but our never changing, constant hope does. The hope we find in our celebration of this day is the great equalizer. It doesn’t change because of your past or present; it doesn’t change whether you are rich or poor; it doesn’t change because of your geography or ethnicity. The hope and freedom we celebrate today does not go away when we have been told to stay at home, when we are isolated, when we lose our jobs, when we are sick and experience loss. It isn’t the numbing agent that we want to take away every negative human emotion, but it is a healing agent that always works in the end.
This Easter, whether COVID-19 has left you feeling discouraged, heartbroken, anxious or mildly inconvenienced, remember that the empty tomb, the humble servant, the redeemer, reconcilier and Savior are not too good to be true. And because it is not too good to be true, you can live transformed, in freedom as we forge ahead.