Jesus died for our sins. Not to give us a free pass, not so we can keep being assholes on purpose, but so that the bad things we do don’t rule us. There is more to each and every one of us than our sins, and Jesus came and lived on earth and then died a super-painful death to pay the price for our sins so we could be worth who we really are.
This I’ve known for years. It almost makes Easter anticlimactic. It feels like blasphemy to type it, but if paying the price for our sins is the whole point–if that’s what allows for grace–then why does Easter matter anyway?
For the past few months I’ve been nearly obsessed with the Drake/Rihanna song “Take Care.” (I know other people like the Florence and the Machine version better, but there’s something bleak and spare about the Drake version that sucks me in.) It just won’t leave my head, and I find myself singing it at all odd times, like this morning. The Drake line in the song that keeps hitting me hardest is the first part of the first verse:
I’ve asked about you and they’ve told me things
But my mind didn’t change.
I still feel the same.
What’s a life without fun? Please don’t be so ashamed.
I’ve had mine; you’ve had yours.
We both know, we know.
I know that I’m supposed to feel joyful at Easter. But it’s always made me feel more lucky and grateful than purely joyful. Easter can’t happen without Good Friday, and rising doesn’t make sense unless something utterly horrible happened three days earlier.
Love has conquered death, but death makes love that much sweeter.
“Take Care” starts with Rihanna singing:
I know you’ve been hurt by someone else.
I can tell by the way your carry yourself.
If you let me, here’s what I’ll do:
I’ll take care of you.
I know there are a lot of ways those lyrics could be read, but the way Rihanna sings them sounds, to me, like an offering. Like she sees his pain and knows that she can help, so she will. Not because she has to, but because she chooses to. It’s her Magnificat.
Jesus’ rising at Easter doesn’t ask us to do anything. But maybe it lets us see other people instead of just our own pain.
Jesus’ death paid for our sins, but what if Easter gives us permission not only to forgive others, but to love them, for real? What if we get to choose to accept someone freely, despite all their scars, because Jesus is alive? What if we could hear everything about a person, about how they’ve hurt and been hurt, and still take care of them if they’ll let us?
St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours.” Easter frees us from everything bad–our sins, others’ sins, even the power of death–to take care and be taken care of by those hands and feet.
Let’s take care of each other.