I fixed a toilet on Easter Sunday.
It’s not quite how I planned on spending my day. Putting on my plumber hat and fixing a way to dispose of waste. It’s not even the topic I planned on writing about today.
It’s maintenance. It’s work. I honestly didn’t want to do it. But it had to be done.
What I’ve found is if the toilet isn’t fixed eventually the house begins to stink and there’s no amount of febreeze that can cover that mess up.
One stinky toilet, if ignored, can affect the atmosphere of the entire house.
Do You Smell What The Chef Is Cooking?
Did you know about 80% of what we taste is based on our sense of smell?
I’m no chef but I am pretty handy in the kitchen. I could whip up the most delectable comfort foods you’ve ever imagined. I could use every skill and talent I’ve learned throughout the years to balance the flavors perfectly.
A Sous Vide Prime Aged Filet drizzled with a rosemary garlic reduction served with tender grilled asparagus, twice roasted potatoes, and a Crème Brûlée for desert.
My stomach is growling.
But a broken, stinky toilet, that’s been ignored, would overwhelm the environment; robbing every bite of its intended flavor.
There is a reason really nice restaurants have bathrooms that are cleaned and maintained very well.
No one wants to eat a meal with so much intentionality in its creation in a place that smells like a truck stop bathroom.
What is ignored eventually makes itself known.
The sun was shining today but for my wife and I the day still was full of lingering clouds carrying over from the week. Our weekend was full of hills and valleys that saw us landing face first in the mud of an unexpected and hurtful letter from a friend.
We didn’t see this coming.
Underneath the anger of the letter, under the vitriol words it used, was someone who had felt abandoned.
This broke our hearts for many reasons. One being that was never our intention. We loved this person and this community. But on the other hand we had felt the same abandonment from many of them. Our every effort to repair what was broken either failed or caused much more damage in return.
This letter revealed the extent of damage separation caused was far-reaching and had affected the atmosphere.
A broken toilet had been ignored and now it was making itself known.
Good Or Authentic?
I know, this doesn’t sound very religious.
What is expected of a “Good Christian” on Easter is to put on a happy face, show up to a service, and say how excited we are to celebrate because He is Risen.
But I don’t want to be a “Good Christian.”
I want to be an Authentic Disciple.
I am excited about Christ’s resurrection. I’ve thrown all my cards into that pile. But that love for Christ calls me to celebrate the authenticity of His love for us.
The sacrifice found in authentic love.
The mercy found in authentic love.
The wherewithal found in authentic love.
The redemption that comes because of His authentic love for us.
And that love is given to us so that we have a blueprint of the kind of love we should give away to those around us.
Authentic love doesn’t ignore the stinky toilets in life.
It has the hard conversations and bears the burdens of one another.
Authentic Love And Easter Celebrations
Just saying Jesus has Risen on Easter, in our Sunday Best, and on our way to dinner doesn’t make us authentic “Good Christians.”
How we reflect and give away the love given to us in humility makes us authentic.
This last year has been hard on everyone and no Easter celebration is going to be a replacement for acting in the authentic sacrificial love Christ gave to us by starting the process of fixing the stinky toilets that have broken over the last year.
There’s a well known quote that says, “Be kind to everyone for everyone is fighting a great battle.”
Yes, let’s celebrate Christ’s resurrection and all the goodness that brings with it. Let’s fill ourselves with hope to press on. Let’s cook our best culinary masterpieces and share the spread with our family and friends. Let’s celebrate His never ending, uncontainable love for us.
But we can’t let our celebration of Him to become a replacement for us living like Him.
The Character of Christ
Christ made Himself like us but clothed in love and mercy, grabbed a wrench and went to work on the stinky toilet the religious leaders had been ignoring for generations.
Then He died, rose again, and right before He ascended… He handed us the wrench to continue the work.
My Easter Prayer For Us
So, on this Easter Sunday my prayer for you and me is we rediscover the depth of His love for us and for our neighbor. That the bricks of the boundaries that have been built over the last year to protect our hearts in uncertain times begin to be torn down and transformed into bridges that unite us.
That we cook the metaphorical meals, we have the celebrations, we see the passion ignited in us again but we first fix the stinky toilets that broke in 2020. That we don’t ignore them or wall off that room. But we take off our kitchen aprons and put on our work clothes, grab our tools, and get our hands dirty in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).
If Christ wanted us to celebrate anything on the day He rose again, wouldn’t it be the very thing that brought Him to live, die, and rise again in the first place??? Reconciliation is the heartbeat of Christ made known through the heartbeat of a beaten and battered church learning to live to the rhythm of His heart.
Final Important Note
2020 has been tough on relationships, especially in the church. 2021 can be the year of reconciliation in those relationships but the survival tactics that got us through 2020 are not the answer.
We have got to let go of the rampant boundary building, pop-psychology teachings, self-help only missions, and re-embrace the heart of Christ alone. Damage was done in the church this last year. The way of repairing that damage will be found in the heart of Christ alone and His heart is reconciliation.
If we’re unwilling to build toward and celebrate reconciliation then I’m afraid our Easter celebrations will be just that. Celebrations full of food, photos, and songs; but empty. Celebrations that forget the real reason we celebrate Easter in the first place.