The meaning of Easter to my Muslim friends….
On days like today – Easter – I think a lot about what others are thinking and feeling about Easter. I do enjoy it for myself as well (as we did today as a family), but I can’t help but think about all those I love so much, who don’t believe in or get what Easter is all about. Mostly I’m thinking about my Muslim friends and how a day like today makes them feel.
You may or may not know this – but Muslims don’t believe that the resurrection was needed, since Jesus didn’t die on the cross. What’s interesting is that the Qur’an actually doesn’t say that, but if you ask any Muslim, “Did Jesus die and rise again” they will emphatically say “no.”
And I can feel their pain. “Pain,” you say. What pain? Well, it’s the pain that Islamic communities have faced for years at the hands of the people of the cross. The Crusaders came bearing the cross for two hundred years. The Inquisition bore the cross against Muslims. Modern wars – even though you and I may never see Iraq, or Somalia, or Afghanistan, or the Palestinians, or Lebanon in 82-84 in this light – they often do. That it is “Christian Crusaders” carrying the cross before them as they go to war against Muslim nation. Hear me on this one – I’m not saying that this was what was actually happening, but it is for sure how they’ve felt.
So rather than the cross being a symbol of freedom and redemption as we know it to be – they see it as a symbol of political triumphalism by Christian nations over Muslim nations. The cross becomes a hard pill to swallow. It’s easier to not think about it. And if there’s no cross, there’s no need for Easter.
My Muslim friends are all very polite at Easter. They call and email me “Happy Easter” wishes. (More than I typically do for them on their special Holy Days, I’m sorry to say). But they don’t understand why it’s such a big deal for us that Jesus did die (and then, of course rise again).
When I think of what God did in and through Christ on the cross – it makes me weep one minute and shout for joy the next. Easter is the best Sunday of the year. Way more powerful than Christmas, in my humble opinion. It’s new life. It’s nothing but wonder at the extravagant giving of God. There is no bad news in Easter whatsoever. And there can be no Easter Sunday without a death on Friday. But my dear Muslim friends can’t see that and I understand why. I’m so sorry for what we’ve done to cloud this most beautiful event in all of history. I’m so sorry!
But don’t let our mistakes keep you from seeing what could be the #1 thing you’re missing. The beauty of the cross and the resurrection. It doesn’t make you a “Christian” to believe this – it makes you whole. I know it’s an offense for you to even think about it. I get that. I really and totally understand how hard it is for a Muslim to see this, and I can appreciate why.
Maybe this….just ask God for wisdom. Grace. Eyes to see what he wants you to see. I’ve been wrong before, I’ll be wrong again – so no pressure from me. None at all. This is between you and God. But isn’t it just the greatest thing ever when God reveals something new to us that we were missing!? I love it when that happens – and it happens with me often.
So. Happy Easter. And it is happy indeed. Because he is risen. And not just for me – but also for you.