Reboot. Reboot. Reboot.
That was the only word I remembered from a required computer basics class I took in college. The teacher was a computer whiz, but his ability to engage an audience made Al Gore look like Billy Mays.
I forgot almost everything the man said, which is good, considering the class was 12 years ago and my daughter’s Barbie light saber has more complexity than the PCs we were studying. But I didn’t forget the words our delightful instructor must have uttered more than 40 times (a friend and I had a wager on who would count more “reboots.”)
The piece of wisdom that class left with me was simple: Even the most advanced machines need to shut down, cool the motor and rest. Today I have a Macbook Pro, an iPhone, DVR and a host of other gadgets. Even these must be rebooted. It’s good for their long-term health.
Funny, but this wisdom applies to the human machine, the soul. In fact, rest was in our initial wiring. God never intended us to burn straight through life, without pausing, resting, shutting down. Even God rested. Jesus rested. And unless we rest, we find ourselves completely unable to handle life.
Ask Elijah, the wearied prophet. For two and a half years, this spiritual superhero traversed the nation of Israel, calling out powerful leaders, asking God to stop the rain, boldly challenging idolatry and, by the way, outrunning a royal chariot. He was unstoppable.
Or so he thought. Then he came to the end of himself. We read about his meltdown in 1 Kings 19. The lesson he learned in his weakness was more powerful than anything he learned on Mt. Carmel or in the royal palace. He learned the power of weakness.
Perhaps this is the most awesome lesson of this season, the Easter season. The entrance of Christ into the world, his miraculous life, his agonizing death and his resurrection were a gigantic reboot. A pause in a world hurling toward destruction.
Today people think Easter is about religion, paying your respects to God and making hollow promises to do better. This is not the message of Easter. Because, as Elijah understood, as the weak-kneed disciples figured out, as you and I know deep within our souls - we can’t make promises to do better.
We need something more than religion that papers over our faults. We need rebirth. We need renewal. We need a transformation from the inside out. We need it because we are not strong, but weak. We’re not great, we’re small. We’re not iron. We’re clay.
This is true for even the most religious, church-going folks. Listen to what Jesus told Nicodemus, the holiest, most revered man in all of Israel: “You must be born again.” Even the religious need a reboot.
Easter is about a man, Jesus, who was God. It’s about his sacrificial death on the cross. It’s about his triumphant resurrection. Because of Jesus, those who were dead may live. Those in bondage find freedom. Those tethered to despair find hope.
The world doesn’t need more piety and devotion. It doesn’t need more “strong Christians” burning themselves out in a vain attempt to gain God’s favor. Like that worn-out gadget, the hot, plodding CPU, the sluggish mainframe, human souls need a divine redo, the one offered exclusively by Easter.