Easter is a great time for people who like to play games. In America, we’re blessed with the onset of Spring, and even in the colder, northern climates we often see some pleasant, sunny days around Easter time, making for a great opportunity to shake off that cabin fever, get outside, and play a little.
One of the most popular Easter games is the “Easter Egg Hunt,” a game where adults fill little plastic eggs with toys and goodies, hide them under bushes and in other obvious places, and then turn the kids loose to find them. This is great training for kids into competitive sports, because the goal is to find the good stuff before anyone else does. Unfortunately, some older kids have a tendency to be ruthless and aggressive (often caused by a combination of genetics and lessons learned while observing their parents). Because of this, many organized egg hunts are broken into two age groups, just to give the little ones a fighting chance.
Then, we have the “Easter Egg Roll,” a game where a group of people roll eggs down a steep incline, racing to see which egg gets to the bottom first. I have never quite understood this game. Since the eggs are pretty much the same, and the hill is pretty much the same, the determining factor seems to be the speed of release, making this a game that favors hyperactive kids with fast reflexes.
Another Easter game featuring eggs is the “Egg Toss,” in which the point is to toss an uncooked egg between two players. The team that can do the longest toss without breaking the egg is the winner. Mothers frequently discourage this game, as it usually results in a lot of laundry.
Easter games are as old as Easter itself. As Jesus was dying on the cross, the Roman soldiers were dividing up his clothing between them, and rather than tear his one-piece tunic to divide it, the soldiers rolled the dice to see who would get this fine garment.
While it’s difficult to imagine being so cold as to be playing dice games in the shadow of a cross where an innocent man was being brutally killed, it really shouldn’t surprise us too much. There are still people today who are playing games in the shadow of the cross. Sad but true, our churches have many regular occupants that are just “playing church,” putting on a good show of attendance, and “talking the talk without walking the walk.” Our churches also have those who are afflicted with the spiritual equivalent of Multiple Personality Disorder. They’re completely different people at work on Monday than they were in church on Sunday. They consider themselves to be “good, religious folks,” but they don’t let that interfere with their lives.
Perhaps the most common and most unfortunate Easter Game is the “Semi-annual Church Game,” played by those folks who become deeply spiritual for a day or so at Christmas and a day or so at Easter. This crowd is a real heartbreaker for me, because they don’t even know what they’re missing by not having an ongoing relationship with Christ, and they don’t stay around long enough to even get a taste of what they’re missing. They have no idea of the joy, peace, or empowerment that they could have if the allowed Christ to be their Lord and Savior.
And, perhaps sadder yet, when the do come by the church on Christmas or Easter, we’re often too busy with our own game playing to demonstrate that abundant life to them, and let them get a taste of what they’re missing.
How about you? Are you “playing games” with God?