I have always been confused when people describe my faith as a religion. That’s because, at its heart, Christianity is nothing of the sort. It is a relationship – a romance if you will excuse the bluntness.
And that’s all thanks to Easter.
Let me explain. Religions require stuff of you. They require prayer and reading sacred books and doing good deeds. The point of all of this is to get to heaven, where all the brownie points you saved up on earth by sacrificing fun finally get cashed in. It is sort of like a video game, from what I can tell.
But Christianity claims something rather different. It claims that the truth is not a system of thought and required behaviour. Rather, Christianity claims that the truth is a person. This is, in fact, the central claim of Christianity.
And that makes an awful lot of sense. You see, if absolute truth exists (and to those who say it doesn’t just ask “is it true that there is no truth?), it must not change – otherwise it was a lie. And for something to remain unchanged forever makes it eternal. Of course, if it is eternal, it is supernatural, because nothing in the natural order remains the same for long. You see what I’m getting at. The only thing that fits such a description is God Himself.
Now, if the truth is a person, then following a bunch of rules won’t help much with getting to know Him. That would be like trying to fall in love while constantly referring to a psychology book to see if you have the behaviors and symptoms right.
We all know that relationships are much easier, and much harder, than that. We all know they involve a strange combination of mystery, spontaneity, emotion, and hard work. And so it is with knowing the person called Truth.
If we take our metaphor a little further, you’ll see that Christians, who believe in throwing out the rule book, are called to something even harder and higher than religion.
You see, falling in love is to find you have been staring at the dirt under your feet for a lifetime, only to have someone gently lift your head to show you that, in fact, you are sitting on a mountain top. You cannot unsee the view, and you cannot un-know its existence. Your whole world is altered. You are the same person, but you are not.
So it is with getting to know Truth. You will throw the out the religious rule book and find your heart now bound by the highest, most powerful law in existence- the law of love. To know Him, and have Him know you, to love Him and know His love – these things delight you, because He finds you delightful.
That’s the thing about Christians, you see. They’re not doing all that good stuff to get to heaven. They are doing it because they already are in heaven, just by loving and being loved by Him. They’re doing it because they want to take heaven into every corner of hell still on earth.
And that brings us back to Easter. If Christianity is all about the Truth being a person, then Easter is all about the fact that He wants to know you. Even more, it is where the Truth proclaims His love, and asks for our response. Easter is an invitation to fall in love.
But let me warn you now of something very serious. Being in love, as I said earlier, means you will never be the same again. And falling in love with Truth is the same.
Do not come near Christianity if the lover you long for is comfort or ease. Come only if you are weary of lies and long for the truth – for there you will find He already has His arms extended waiting for you.