Easter Sunday has been. Today is Monday.
The morning after
Have you been there?
You go to church on a Sunday in an attempt to block out the Sunday afternoon doldrums, and also because you are young and single and hoping to meet a cute boy. The music is awesome, the songs are awesome, the cute boy is awesome.
The speaker gets up. He (it was always a he in my day) starts to speak. I’m on the edge of my seat with my tongue out like a dog waiting to be thrown a morsel. Give me something, anything to hold onto. Explain this life to me. Quench my angst oh powerful leader and speaker of truth. Maybe after this talk I will get it. I will understand God, and be the type of Christian who has one of those leather bound bibles and walks purposefully into their day with the Lord. He gets up… and glory be I’ve hit the jackpot… he is AMERICAN. Americans have all the answers! I’m gonna leave here with the answer for sure. I listen as he explains that Jesus has risen! Jesus has conquered death, but apparently I have a God shaped hole in my heart. I can try and fill this hole with other things, but only God will satisfy me and fill that God shaped hole.
And WHAM! Like matching rings thrust together the neuro pathways in my brain connect and I get it! I get it! I get it!I’ve got a God shaped hole! I ask God to fill my God shaped hole, and sing 3 rounds of I have decided to follow Jesus!
I hug everyone after the service, and shed a tear or two. I exit the spiritual nirvana of the service, get into my car and go home.
My hole was filled completely and miraculously that night… for at least 45 mins. But the next day it looked a bit liked a balloon the night after the party, or a belly after bearing 4 children (apparently).
It had lost its filling. Is my hole leaky? Are you freaking serious? I am the one Christian on the planet with a leaky hole? (I’m so tempted to go there but sometimes I DO show restraint). The American all-knowing man with the big belt buckle didn’t mention anything about defective holes?!
I don’t get it. I understand Jesus died for me, he rose again, but he said people fill their God shaped hole with the wrong things. I’m a good daughter of a Baptist pastor, I follow the rules, and OK yeah I’ve turned the illustrations in my Good News Bible into speech bubbled comics, but c’mon what’s with the leaky hole?
Seriously folks this question lasted for the next 25 years.
So this is what I’ve come up with over the last 1300 visits to Church.
If you’d like to think of the human condition as one with a God shaped hole, that’s fair enough, it certainly feels like that. And yes, we do fill that yearning, that discomfort, that absence with our top three favourites - drugs, sex, and alcohol. But we also fill it with money, with possessions, with food, with movies, with holidays, with shoes, with social media, with relationships, with freaking chocolate eggs if we are desperate enough.
God does NOT like to share your hole. He’s not the Easter bunny. He is a jealous God.
Exodus 20:4-6 The Message (MSG)
No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
He wants you. He wants you bad man. So bad he sent his son to pay your debt in an excruciating death. The story doesn’t end on Sunday, he’s looking forward to Monday. He wants you to follow him.
Matthew 16:24New International Version (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Errr…. You want me to deny myself and follow you? Now if I was Jesus marketing manager I would advise against this as his campaign slogan. It is quite frankly, appalling. That does NOT sound like freedom to me. It sounds like something to run run as fast as you can like the gingerbread man from.
Hence my leaky hole.
Monday is a struggle, but I’ll follow with my leaky hole.
Easter. We despise and reject him, we wait on him, we celebrate him, we follow him