At first, I did not know what to think of them. It seemed like a curious mixture of liturgical season and culture. I, the traditionalist, like keeping things nice and neat, and yet here they were. Crosses of wood wrapped in Christmas lights which illuminated that lawns of many of our neighborhood yards. I pondered at the deeper meaning of what would later be named to me as Easter crosses. Were they an expression of the hope of Easter that could not be overcome by a pandemic? Did they represent more superstition than faith (No corona virus will pass this point!)? Did the owners think about the tension of beautifying an instrument of death from ancient world? Yes, welcome to the inner mind of your youth pastor.
Easter was a few weeks ago now, and the crosses are still up in equal or greater quantity than before. It made me think of the concept of Easter Tide – a motion, force, movement that begins on Resurrection Sunday that catapults the people of God forward to blaze a new trail throughout the rest of their liturgical year. Easter tide, like the creeping breakers of a morning high tide, cannot be stopped, and its reach never ceases to surprise those who believed themselves outside of its grasp. All the while it reminds us that resurrection is still happening within us. In his book Surprised by Hope, NT Wright says the following: The claim advanced in Christianity is of that magnitude: Jesus of Nazareth ushers in not simply a new religious possibility, not simply a new ethic of a new way of salvation, but a new creation.” How is a new creation made? It no doubt has a definitive point of beginning (harkening back to how gracious did that grace appear the hour I first believed), but interestingly it has no ending. We are always in the process of being molded and shaped by a resurrection who unleashes a tide which will never stop surging until completeness comes in a new heaven and new earth. How convicting that is to our complacency! How inspiring that is to our future!
As such, I have stopped trying to figure out what the illuminated crosses mean to other people. I believe they have even taken on the name of “Corona Crosses” for some and will stay up for an undefined period of time. Instead, I have focused more intently on what Easter Tide means for me. Am I allowing the resurrection power to do its intended purposes of making me into a new creation? Am I willing to receive the transformational truths that God is offering to me during these times (yes, even through an illuminated cross on a neighbor’s lawn)? As I open myself to such transparency and accountability by writing this to you, I ask that you in turn do the same thing for yourself. As you do, I pray that the Easter tide will continue to surge in your life and give each passing day new meaning of what it means to be more completely formed to the image of Christ in your neck of the woods.