*This post was part of the teaching moment at our last Cypher Church event April 7th.*
Easter is the holiest week for Christians who commemorate and celebrate Jesus, the cross, and the empty tomb.
Whether you’re religious or not, chances are you have some connection with Easter. For a moment, however, put aside what you know and consider some new questions. Questions like, what does Easter and the cross do and how does it solve anything? The answers to these questions might surprise you.
But first there’s a discovery: we all share something in common with the cross….
You may not be aware of this connection but it’s there: the capability to dream of the best possible life.
We all have a dream for the best life.
Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it with one simple question: what would you do if you won $60 million in the Lotto Max?
Nobody dreams about winning the lottery and promptly driving their life straight into the pavement. Rather, when given a chance we all dream about the best outcome. If we’re honest, usually our daydream is about ourselves. New house, many trips around the world, new car; you can buy anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed!
We know winning the lottery won’t happen, but what’s left is that dream, the dream for the best.
We work hard to build platform for our brands, we put in the time to build our careers, we chase our goals to be successful. Most of us think and dream of ways to make things happen for ourselves, which is a neat thing to say especially if you’re younger, “I made it for myself”.
Question: have you made it yet?
Having life goals is important but we also day-dream of reaching our lofty goals because we believe if we ‘make it’ we’ll be happier and fulfilled. But this assumes one thing: that your talents, your dreams, your capabilities, are just for you. For you to make money, build prestige, hit achievements, gain celebrity, power….
Let’s say you are in fact made for yourself, question–have you made it yet?
If we’re honest we know the lottery dream can’t solve everything. Money won’t erase memories torn by injustice, can’t restore scars from deep emotional wounds, won’t make somebody beautiful on the inside, will not build character, and can’t fix the broken relationship you have with your dad, mom, son, daughter, other.
Every dream for the best runs into problems (usually a lot of them too).
Things (life!) keep getting in the way of our dreams, and we like to think it’s up to me to work harder, find the answer, think positive thoughts, and create my own breakthrough. In the process, we wind up becoming our greatest enemy. We throw our life out of balance in our pursuits. We think people will approve of our perfectionism, build expectations that are too high, and eventually descend into a place where that dream we once had for the best, maybe we’re just not worth it anymore. Maybe the world is acting against our attempts to rise above the rest, maybe we deserve the suffering, maybe we should bear the shame, maybe we should just quit….
Here’s an idea to think over this Easter:
When we put our self at the center of the best possible life we lower the bar to our full potential. By ourselves, we are incomplete.
Back to the lottery winning daydream. With all the money for yourself eventually you reach a point when you start thinking about helping others. Your family, your friends, your neighborhood. You start dreaming about the things that were broken and need restoring. You think about tackling complex problems like poverty and abuse. You start daydreaming about the legacy and impact you could have, considering the best for you–and here’s the thing–the best for others as well. Your capacity to daydream of the best for others is significant proof your biggest dream wants to be connected to an even bigger dream.
And this is where we come full circle to, “why the cross and what does it do?”
The cross is the answer to the human story, where we find the possibility to live out our fullest dreams while beating all of the trash in our lives. It’s connected into a larger, unchanging dream, that God has had since the beginning of time. That dream, to put it simply, started with a hope for humanity to live out their full potential, yet wasn’t available in full, because nobody had lived it out until Jesus arrives interceding in history.
Jesus starts God’s dream for the best that continues to unravel today–one you’re invited to participate in.
But what good is a dream for the best if it keeps running into problems? Things and people keep holding us down from living our full potential.
All of the powers and forces, both seen and unseen, that work against our dreams, (not the dream for money, fast cars, diamond rings, but the dream God has for you to live out the fullness of what you were made to be), are ultimately confronted at the cross. The cross is the place where all the things that hold us back, all of the disconnect, your own self trying to solve the suffering in your life, the power of evil, ARE BEAT.
At the cross Jesus says, “I’ll take all of those things because I can beat them.”
The cross is the literal moment God demonstrates once and for all that the powers that works against us, everything we call evil, can be defeated. I’ll take it, to beat it.
Living out your dreams takes real sacrifice, so to with God’s dream. God cares about you and all of creation to a level that an immense sacrifice was taking on behalf of the dream (a promise) to launch a hope that one day, maybe even today, the best dream will come true. All of the violence, all of the brutality, literally and figuratively at the cross, taken to win a victory.
The Easter story doesn’t end at the cross. The victory at the cross doesn’t end until we focus our attention on the tomb where the buried Jesus’ body. The proof victory can happen occurs when Jesus beats the one thing none of us can escape–the greatest disconnect–death.
Think about it. Even death can’t hold God’s dream down!
How is your dream for the best life going? Consider this: your dream doesn’t stand alone, rather, you’re invited to be a part of a dream that will fill you to the very core of your being.
What’s your dream?
Have you made it yet?
Are you reaching for God’s best?