A Broken Hallelujah
by Jen Hatmaker on March 25th, 2013

My friend Amy is a hot mess in December. At the slightest mention of the Baby Jesus, she dissolves into weepy, sentimental tears. She hangs red curtains in her house, plays Christmas hymns on an eternal loop, and falls apart every day until December 26th. Do not even make eye contact with her in church during the Christmas season. Her poor husband Brad practically has to sedate her to make it through. It is simply her most tender holy season.
 
Easter is mine.
 
I keep thinking this will be the year I manage without feeling painfully raw. How many Easters in a row can I plainly come undone? Apparently, infinity. For instance, at church yesterday, a few folks simply read the Passover story out loud in sections between songs. That was our whole church service, beautiful and haunting. I was assigned the passage about Jesus in the garden, asking God to take the cup from him. The other readers delivered their Scripture in clear, strong voices. I, conversely, croaked and cracked and bawled and inserted eternal awkward pauses and blubbered through my entire part. (I sat down by Brandon and said, “Well, I think that went well.”)
 
The story of our redemption breaks me. I simply cannot get over Jesus. His humanity moves me beyond words. His suffering shatters my heart. His courage leaves me undone. I am aching, so gratefully devastated. By his wounds I am healed, but his scars mark me too, and I am tender to the touch. The story that crushes me also saves me, and there is nothing to do but worship through the tears. 
 
Easter will always be a broken hallelujah for me.
 
I want to ascribe to Jesus all the glory he was denied when they mocked his kingship and crushed his body. The crown of thorns, the robe on open flesh, the taunts of false worship, the sign above his head ridiculing his position…I find myself declaring his authority in defiance; Jesus is King, Lord of All, The First and the Last, The Bright and Morning Star, The Head of Every Man, I AM. May his glory eternally surpass his suffering, for he has saved the world and saved our lives. Let all the earth rejoice, for the Lamb became the King and grace beat back the darkness.
 
His kingdom come, his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 
This is the week Jesus rose to his task and split history in two. This is the week he rode on a donkey, cried in the garden, suffered on the cross, rose into glory. This is the week that sinful, broken humans were granted a pardon, justified to perfection and set free. It is too miraculous for words. Songs and sermons fail us; we huddle at the cross, overwhelmed by the punishment that brought us peace.
 
It is with a heavy heart that I join hands with my brothers and sisters, fellow sinners saved by this grace, and come collectively before the Light of the World, declaring our broken hallelujah. We bow in heartbroken reverence, thankful grief. We want our lives to scream WORSHIP, for our Redeemer lives and his kingdom cannot be shaken. Jesus reigns and we are his. There is nothing else to say. It is finished indeed.
 
Family, what does worship look like in light of this miracle? How do awe and wonder and gratitude and humility mark our lives as we honor the cross? As I’ve said before here and here, it seems barely worth mentioning that chocolate bunnies and fancy new dresses not only miss the gravity, but miss the point. I daresay the American response to Easter is insulting, devastating even.
 
Jesus gave us a hint during his last week, providing an appropriate response for us, understanding the cross would wreck and ruin and confound his followers. He laid a plumb line, offering a responsive script that would stand the test of time and culture and millenia:

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

My body, broken for you…do this.

My blood, poured out for you…do this.


And lest we imagine it means anything less, anything cheap, John tells us Jesus stood up from table, the King, wrapped his waist, knelt down, and washed the filthy feet of his disciples. The least the greatest, the last first, the humble soon to be lifted. The Savior the servant, turning the rules upside down and changing the template for the rest of history.

My body, broken…do this.

My blood, poured out…do this.

For me.


What does this look like for us? How do we worship in light of this Savior? For it is past time we, too, turn the rules upside down and change the template. Broken and poured out, may it be. Oh that his people would mimic the cross in worship this week, bypassing plastic eggs and patent leather shoes for servanthood, responding in a way befitting the sacrifice.

What if we calculated the money we’d spend on new clothes, anything having to do with a bunny and chocolate, and used that investment for great good, pouring out for someone in need of mercy? Maybe instead of matching outfits from Dillards, we invest in family t-shirts benefiting someone’s adoption, someone's mission for Christ. Perhaps rather than time and energy spent on ourselves, we ask: “Who can our family serve? Where can we put our hands and hearts to use in Jesus’ name?”  Who in your city desperately needs hope but won’t find their way to the sanctuary Sunday filled by people dressed to the nines?

Where does the gospel need to go?


There is no better question to ask in response to the cross where Jesus was broken and poured out and the gospel was sealed. May we do the same in remembrance of him, not cheapening his sacrifice with self-serving, invented practices or neutering the miracle by missing the point entirely.

Church, let’s bring Jesus’ hope into the darkness this Easter – the lonely street corners, the strip clubs, the shelters, the prisons, the sad places. We can push back the darkness, because God “in his great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Good has triumphed; Jesus won the day.

Jesus, our Almighty King, our brother and Savior, is in glory, his suffering is done and our salvation is secure. This is our celebration. May Jesus find the Bride honoring the cross exactly like he told us to, for we are so terribly unworthy but somehow, miraculously, against all sense and reason, we are saved.

“…to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”



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108 Comments

gretchen - March 25th, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Speechless. And grateful. So grateful.
megan - March 25th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
goosebumps.
cassie - March 25th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
Beautiful!
js - March 25th, 2013 at 4:47 PM
Yes! it IS BEAUTIFUL!!! - the picture of Jesus' love for all of us. We can praise him - in our hearts, in our worship - even in pretty dresses from Dillards. Our Lord is looking at our hearts and if we saved "our best" outfit just to wear when we come to worship Him - he knows!! Insulting someone's observance of Easter so we can feel even better about ourselves is not exactly what Jesus taught. He DID create new life - in hearts - and still does today - and even little chicks and bunnies, so if we can hand our little one a chocolate bunny and share the story of how Jesus creates new life - let's do it. Our Hallelujahs can be full of JOY, not broken - because of Jesus. He gives us all we have and even prospers us - and yes we open our hearts to share in every moment of life, not just when it makes us feel better about ourselves. Our thankfulness in ALL we have is a way of life - not just on Easter, not just a project. I love that he gives each of us a different set of gifts, and provides everything in our lives - even the prosperity we have in America - and he uses it for his glory too :-) I'm thankful along with you. Beautiful.
Jackie B - March 25th, 2013 at 10:38 AM
All I can muster in MY brokenness is Amen. Thank you for speaking the truth in love. No new clothes here. Maybe a bag of Cadbury eggs, because, darn it, you can't get them any other time of year, and I love the crunchy shells. Our family is serving at a homeless shelter this week to remember how Jesus came to serve the broken hearted. Thank you for the inspiration to become messy.
Elizabeth Davis - March 25th, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Speechless...what a beautifully clear and devastating picture of all our Savior did and all He has called us to do.
Tori - March 25th, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Thank you. It is time to raise my broken hallelujah.
Tara Owens - March 25th, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Glory.

Yes, and thank you. I needed that reminder as I meditate on this season, because it's so easy to get draw into feeding my family a lavish meal that I forget the call to feed the world. Yes, yes, yes.
Tess - March 25th, 2013 at 10:42 AM
PREACH IT. See you in Bicknell lady!
Barb - March 25th, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Tears. Thank you for your heart and your words. Do this....I will.
Esther - March 25th, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Well said.
Last year I read, "The Case for Easter" with my oldest two children. I didn't get very far before I had to stop and catch my heart wrenching breath.
It's amazing.
Sandy - March 25th, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Amen! You sum it up sooo well. We all need to revisit what the real meaning of Easter is

Krista - March 25th, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Jen, every time I put the communion bread in my mouth I think "continuously make You real" ... you taught me this in 'Interrupted' and it changed me forever. DO THIS is real and constant for our lives IN HIM. I love it! Thank you!
Lori McMurphy - March 25th, 2013 at 10:49 AM
I'm with ya. I see what you are saying. I'm not a big Easter bunny pusher because it totally takes away from the complete seriousness and emotion of who WE are and WHY we are His.
Cassie Fields - March 25th, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Thank you for this dose of reality!!!
Nikki - March 25th, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Thank you for articulating what our hearts are longing to say and do. Forgetting the fancy dress, the rules and traditions may the Church this Easter be what the Church is called to be - a place for sinners like you and me, yearning for the love of Christ.
Tj - March 25th, 2013 at 11:01 AM
So truly blessed by your post! We always need to be reminded of ALL He has done, because I believe that at times we do take for granted and "the out of sight out of mind" pieces of our lives do not remind us as they should all the pieces of your blog writing does this day of ALL HE gave and how very unselfishly HE GAVE for each of us before we were ever born! So as HIS Resurrection Day approaches once again I so want to take to heart all you have placed here for my heart to walk through so I can be so eternally grateful for my Jesus!
Lorraine - March 25th, 2013 at 11:07 AM
YES! YES! YES!
Esmeralda - March 25th, 2013 at 11:11 AM
I'm new to your blog and let me first say, I love it.
But this post is especially beautiful. Thank you. And Amen.
Corie - March 25th, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Love this. We just purchased our Sevenly shirts that feed children in Haiti and adoption shirts for all of our children. These will be our Easter outfits. Once upon a time, lots of $ went to Gymboree at Easter. This year, that money is feeding children, funding other adoptions, and being saved for our adoptions. Thank you for this post and many others that have led to change in our lives.
Carol D - March 25th, 2013 at 11:22 AM
You are a gifted writer. Thank you for using it to His glory!
Xamayta - March 25th, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Thank you for this! Each year I dread Easter..yes, I DO! I grew up in Puerto Rico and went to church with my neighbors. I did not grow up in a religious home, but definitely in a religious culture. The Holy Week! It was inculcated in me to be SACRED! I move here and become a Christian as an adult and every year when I see the plastic eggs come out and the chocolate and the baskets...I get a physical reaction! My chest gets tight, my heart beats a little faster, I get angry and want to cry all at the same time! It is SO INSULTING TO ME! The Last Supper, The Garden, The flogging, The insults, The Crucifixion, The Death, The Resurrection and Our Gift of Eternal Salvation...minimalized by eggs, chocolate, baskets, bunnies.....I bought some plastic eggs this week to use for a bible lesson. I wanted cheap potting containers to teach the Parable of the Farmer. I then set the eggs in egg cartons so they would not fall over. My daughter sees the eggs in the bags and says, "Why did you buy eggs, we don't celebrate easter?" No we don't! We celebrate our gift of salvation, through Jesus' sacrifice! Sacred and Holy Week! Happy Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday to you ALL!
Beth M - March 25th, 2013 at 11:26 AM
I cried during the whole 9:30 service! The ultimate sacrifice for me (us) I fall to pieces when I stop long enough to bask in his Love, He has risen, Indeed!! Thanks Jen for your heart, can't wait to serve our homeless brothers and sisters on Easter.


tammy@meadowspeak - March 25th, 2013 at 11:26 AM
so good....
Blaire - March 25th, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Get it Jen! Get it! Nothing to add, only graetful these words were written to reflect the day our life and world changed forever.
Eliza St. Onge - March 25th, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Thank you for voicing how I feel. Thank you thank you thank you lord Jesus firbthevultimate sacrifice.
Stephanie Morris - March 25th, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Easter is my tender season, too. The idea of a resurrected Christ, paying a ransom for me, yet unformed. There really are no words. Praise Him faithfully, eternally, unceasingly with every action.
Tina - March 25th, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Tears in my coffee this morning as I read this. Thank you for writing what has been weighing heavy on my heart all weekend. As my family struggles to make this the week we should and show our children what Easter is, I pray that other families see that it can be so much better without the dresses and bunnies.
Leslie - March 25th, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Holy Week kills me. I don't want to get over Jesus. Thank you for your beautiful broken hallelujah. Singing with you.
Laura - March 25th, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Easter has often been my tender season. More so this year as I'm celebrating the fact that my son accepted The Son as his Savior just last Saturday. Will be a blubbering mess come Sunday (ok all week) as I think about the fact that God watched his Son struggle and die so that one day his Son and my son could meet. What a gift sweet Jesus, simple words of praise are not enough. Thank you for writing this today!
Katie - March 25th, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Jen,
Thank you so much for this. I, too, am a WRECK every.single. Easter. I finished Seven about a month ago and have just started Interrupted. Very timely. I have always been floored by Jesus' sacrifice, but for the first time it was Father God's sacrifice that finally occurred to me yesterday sitting in church. He essentially had His own perfect Son put to death so that he could take that annoying, rude, obnoxious kid next door (the one that delights in teaching my child VERY naughty things,...just for example...) and TRADE that scrub for His own sweet Jesus. And be thrilled by the trade and all the inheritance and birthright along with it! FURREALLS?! So I may still be feeling a little floored by that. Also because I happen to be a stepchild, and have felt the sting of that identity. But God has treated me like He was so tickled to be "trading up" for ME, from His own son, Jesus. Un-flipping-Done.
Jeni - March 25th, 2013 at 11:57 AM
yes, Yes, YES!
Lisa Bartelt - March 25th, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Now, I'm crying. Thank you for the not-so-gently but loving nudge away from the status quo. I love the ideas of turning our practice of Easter worship upside-down. My in-laws spent too much money on an Easter dress for our daughter and she will wear it ... once? Twice, maybe? Next year, I will offer a better option. Thank you.
karla - March 25th, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Thankful for this. So thankful for the cross! My Jesus, my Savior
There is none like you......
Desiree - March 25th, 2013 at 12:17 PM
I am broken. I am knocked down. Daily. I am crawling my way back Jesus. To this Jesus. Thank you for writing. For speaking truth to those you don't know. I desperately want to visit Austin.
Crissy Cano - March 25th, 2013 at 12:23 PM
One day I'll stop crying at everything you write.

Today is not that day.

I'm so incredibly thankful for who you are and how you let Jesus work through you.
Dawn S - March 25th, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Awesome words from a real heart. Thank you. This too is my tender season, full of tears and unworthiness, yet also full of joy and thanksgiving. Sunday's Coming! He Lives!
Monica Hughes - March 25th, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Thank you for that beautiful commentary. "When saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?" Matt 25:37-39 At that day, when the King answers that because we served the least of these, we served Him, imagine the gratitude that will fill our hearts. I'm grateful for your reminder.
Karen Barnes - March 25th, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Wow! I can honestly say that I wish that I felt that type of tender response to the Easter season. I know it merits it. I wish I had that type of gutteral reaction. How do we take it so lightly that we're all not weeping on Palm Sunday & Easter? This is a call to myself to slow down this week and really try to reflect on what this week signifies for us as Christians. A challenge, but so necessary... I love your response to your thoughts also. Juxtaposing chocolate bunnies with showing Jesus' grace, love, & mercy to others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & challenging us all!
Lori - March 25th, 2013 at 12:42 PM
I cannot begin to thank you enough for this post. I think we must be sisters cause every word in this post could have been written by me. I am the same way every single Easter season since I met Jesus. I can't help it. I can't talk about what Jesus did for us without crying. I tear up seeing or hearing anything related to what He endured for us whether it be Easter season or not. So thank you for expressing so beautifully what my heart is screaming.
Jen - March 25th, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Love love love this. I have sort of an off topic question though. I'm curious to know yours and others thoughts on dressing up and enjoying fashion at all...not in excess not purchasing luxury brands. But I'm talking buying a cute new shirt on clearance at Target even for $5 now and then even your closet isn't otherwise overflowing and full of clothes you don't need or wear. Is it wrong to think some of the new fashions are pretty and want to buy one of "those" new necklaces? Haha I have an infant daughter snd I LOVE dressing her up but I wonder if all these ideas are sinful ones.
Jen Hatmaker - March 25th, 2013 at 1:13 PM
Totally! Not a thing in the world wrong with lookin' cute! Beauty and creativity has its place in the kingdom, for sure. For example, my friend Jessica has started a company called Noonday employing vulnerable women in developing companies. They work with designers and the products these ladies create are GORGEOUS and fashionable. Yay!
Heather - March 25th, 2013 at 1:05 PM
Completely sobbed through this whole post...which isn't new since I've basically been crying the entire season of Lent because of the same reasons - thankfulness, joy, sorrow, and true love for the Lord.
Christy - March 25th, 2013 at 1:06 PM
Very well said, all the way around. If anyone has a heart for their local prison, is looking for a way to serve and doesn't know where to start - please check out Prison Fellowship Ministries! https://www.prisonfellowship.org/get-involved/
Carol - March 25th, 2013 at 1:13 PM
Thank you for awakening us to the true glory of Easter... that we might rejoice in Jesus... serve Him... and Praise Him from our very heart. Oh sing Christian for He is risen! He has risen indeed!
Catherine - March 25th, 2013 at 1:43 PM
Crying now. Thank you. I needed to read this today.
Kelly O - March 25th, 2013 at 3:35 PM
I am SO with you. I think this is the first time I've actually commented, but Easter truly undoes me in a way that Christmas doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and I enjoy it more since my daughter was born, but Easter just tears at my heart. Since I joined a church that follows a liturgical calendar, I've discovered the whole "Holy Week" and the services that go along with it. On Sunday, it was mentioned more than once that you don't need to go from the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday straight to the Resurrection on Easter morning.

There is value in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Since observing that whole week, I can honestly say the joy of Easter morning is so much more awesome, and it has a whole different meaning. That joyous "He is risen!" brings me out of the dark and quiet of the Good Friday service, and what winds up being an unusually thoughtful Saturday.
michelle - March 25th, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Yes, I was raised skipping from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Since discovering the Holy Week observances it's much easier to move through the feelings that these days bring up in me. It's like what Sarah Bessey was describing today... a little room. Margin to process. Those extra days (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) add a little extra quiet reflection time to process what's really been accomplished.
Cathy - March 25th, 2013 at 3:39 PM
I appreciate you so much, Jen. We are kin! Thank you for this post, your words speak my heart. So grateful.
Monica - March 25th, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Thank you, Jen! In tears, praying that the church and her leaders rise to the occasion. Seeking not to the look like the world around them, but to be a place of refuge, renewal, and hope for those Jesus calls us to serve.
Connie - March 25th, 2013 at 3:43 PM
Beautiful. What a reminder this Easter week. Thank you, Jesus, for thinking of me when you hung on that cross! Amen.
Karen Graham - March 25th, 2013 at 3:48 PM
last year I drove by a church that had a cross in the yard with easter eggs hanging from it! I used it as a lesson for my kids how insulting that is to what Christ endured on the cross. Even though i really wanted to jerk those pastel painted eggs down! It must've been a memorable lesson as my girls reminded me yesterday of the church that put easter eggs on the rugged cross. God forgive us.
laura - March 25th, 2013 at 3:52 PM
Thank you.
Jackie - March 25th, 2013 at 4:00 PM
brought me to tears.
Allison - March 25th, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Thank you for putting into words my feelings exactly!! We've never done the Easter bunny or baskets and I've felt pressured by family and friends to do so. NO. NO, we won't conform to the world on this.
Ann Searing - March 25th, 2013 at 5:13 PM
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go!!
Heather - March 25th, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Thank you for sharing your beating heart with us! I am feeling very convicted (in an exciting, can't wait to see what God will do with it way) about funneling the money on our families Easter clothes away from big name stores and into eternal dreams! THANK YOU for getting my brain spinning!!!
Christ is risen!!!...whew, weepy mess over here too!!!
Deb Horan - March 25th, 2013 at 5:47 PM
I have been feeling the need to do something to bring Glory to the God I love and honor by serving in some compacity or helping someone in need especially during the Easter season to demonstrate just a little of what Christ did for us. Then I came across your blog. Thank you for the affirmation. Please be praying for God to place someone or some service in my path that my family and I can do that will honor Christ our Savior! Thank you.
Jennifer Bass - March 25th, 2013 at 5:49 PM
I'm awestruck and moved to tears.... This is my broken hallelujah as well
Connie Pinkham - March 25th, 2013 at 6:22 PM
Hallelujah indeed....
Penni Van Horn - March 25th, 2013 at 6:56 PM
OK, I am a thief, I copied your blog to my facebook page- I DID in fact tell folks that you wrote it, admitted that I would ask forgiveness instead of permission, and that reading your blog for the last half year is changing the way I think, act, and love (with a husband that has a home office, 5 adult kids, and 2 lovely daughters-in-law, and 1 brand new grand-daughter- change is predictable but not always predictable from me)

As an aside, never unrelated, I received an email from our eldest son (36) with the subject line 'interesting article'. It was sent to both myself and his precious wife. It was a link to one of your blogs that I had not yet read- you, sweet Jen, are reaching folks in ways that you don't imagine.
Lindsay - March 26th, 2013 at 2:00 PM
You can always link to her articles back here. Facebook lets you choose the picture (or none). No permission or forgiveness required :). This way, your friends will already have the web address if they want to read more from the author.
Jenny - March 25th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
I love this! I just recently began to blog ( still figuring it out) and do not consider myself a writer, but a sharer of my heart. This however, makes me a little Leary to release my post about Good Friday! It pales in comparison. I know God gives us all gifts In certain areas and we must work to grow them , but wow, just wow! Your word and phrasing choices are inspired and anointed. Thank you for sharing your heart. I too am a mess at Easter......and Christmas......and during communion.......you get the idea.......I am just a mess for Jesus!
Rachel Goodloe - March 25th, 2013 at 7:12 PM
Jen, "How do we picture the Kingdom of God? It is like a mustard seed. The smallest seed in the world. Yet it can grow...". Keep growing the Kingdom of God with your transparent and inspiring faith. Much love to you from a sister in Christ!

Kristi - March 25th, 2013 at 8:22 PM
PREACH.

(I'm glad our "7" media fast was last week.)
Debi Marshall - March 25th, 2013 at 9:10 PM
Thank you for this, Jen. Easter is my favorite holiday. In fact, while I was trying to learn about this whole Jesus thing over 10 years ago, I broke down when I saw a couple girls dancing with flags during an Easter Service. Nothing can compare to what God did for us on the cross and through the resurrection. It's because of Jesus that I have hope and peace in my life. I don't know where I'd be without him, it's too scary to think about. Thank you for sharing your heart for Jesus and putting words to the feelings so many of us have felt. God bless you!!
alison m. - March 25th, 2013 at 9:54 PM
Amazing once again! Thanks for being this voice in our lives! Love you!
Carrie Sue - March 25th, 2013 at 10:33 PM
This is stunningly amazing!! Our family has always had the basket, candy and even money and I grew up in a very strict and rigid Christian house!! We stopped this practice when I was blessed with my own family. Easter brings me to my knees and in an awesome way. It is beyond my comprehension how our Jesus could suffer so much torture, humiliation and still He called out to our Father to forgive them. We would have melted the minute someone taunted us. Much like Peter!! I so look forward to what Jesus brings to you. You are in my heart!! Much love!!
Jamie - March 25th, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Weeping....Thank you Jesus for your awesomeness...forgive us...use everyone of us for your glory.
Susie - March 26th, 2013 at 1:27 AM
I too feel the same way about Easter. This is a breath of fresh air compared to your last 2 blog entries, reading those one would be surprised that you attended a church, you seemed so opposed to anything that constitutes a traditional church, or mega-church.
Jen Hatmaker - March 26th, 2013 at 9:11 AM
You're obviously a new reader. I'm a pastor's wife and church planter! Might want to backlog read a bit... ;0)
ErinPascal - March 26th, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Wow! It's very beautiful..just beautiful. I was really left with a silence and an overwhelming feeling of sadness and guilt because He sacrificed Himself to save me--a very sinful and unworthy person. I am very moved by your blog post and I feel very really inspired to do good and spread the story of Jesus' death and resurrection--at least I can do something for Him even though I know they're just little things compared to what he did for us. Oh how much He loves us! Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog! May God bless you!
Kay - March 26th, 2013 at 8:48 AM
Beautifully said. It would serve us all well to remember this sacrifice throughout the year. This is the reason for communion....to remind us of this amazing sacrifice, made for us as sinners that we may have eternal life with our Heavenly Father. I cry every time I take communion as I realize the sacrifice made. I could never imagine sacrificing my only son for the sins of people I have never met and who have committed such horrendous sins. It is truly AMAZING that God has done this for us.
Kelly @ Love Well - March 26th, 2013 at 10:25 AM
I still remember the Easter when it suddenly became very real to me. I was newly married, and we had just left everything and moved to a new city far from home. I was laid open, raw and transparent, and maybe because of that, the whole story shot right through me like a laser beam.

And I tried to keep my composure that Sunday, sitting in the back of the conservative Baptist church where I knew no one, I tried to keep it in and keep it to a dignified tear trickling slowly down one cheek. But the whole story did me in, and I found myself sobbing - bawling, really - with panting gasps and snot running my face and tears so thick, I couldn't even see.

We never went back to that church. My poor Vulcan husband may still be scarred.

And Easter has been my favorite ever since. I bear the beautiful scar.
Brady - March 26th, 2013 at 10:34 AM
I agree with some of what you said, but I disagree when you say that Jesus' body was broken. The Gospels never record this and Paul never says this either. In fact, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus' body was ever broken, rather the Bible prophesies that Jesus' body cannot be broken (see Psalm 34:20). And if the Lord's Supper was a fulfillment of the Passover meal, those celebrating the Passover meal would never think of taking a lamb with a defect, broken bone, etc. to sacrifice it to God. Rather they would take the best that they had. Same with God--Jesus was not broken in any sense.
Also, the Gospel message is not just love and mercy ministry. It is justice. In order for those (sinners) who believe in Christ as Savior and Lord to become new creations, stained free from sin; someone had to pay the price. Therefore God's love is not unconditional. God's love had a condition--this condition is satisfying God's wrath against sin. This is what Jesus does only for those who believe into His name. He satisfies God's wrath so that God's wrath does not come upon those who believe that Christ satisfied this justice. We must be careful not to emphasize one over the other. In order to have a new creation, there needs to be death.
And then you state, "Jesus reigns and we are his. There is nothing else to say. It is finished indeed." But what is finished? I know Christ cried this from the cross, but then what is finished? His humanity? His divinity? Sin? The devil? Salvation? Just some thoughts.
Danielle Tomlinson - March 26th, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Jen you have me in tears for the second time in 3 days. When you read on Sunday, it was as if your heart was aching for your best friend and Savior. My wish after leaving Sunday was that everyone in the world could have been there and felt the Spirit that filled our sweet room. It was so incredibly moving and powerful- as is this post. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and words.
Flower Patch Farmgirl - March 26th, 2013 at 12:15 PM
I can't get over the words of Romans 4:25 these days. "He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God." That is the shortest, most powerful, gut-punching, soul-scraping Easter story there ever was. It's all of why we are here and why we've got to keep moving.

Your church service sounds beautiful and tears never hurt.

PS - How 'bout that Pope????!
Jen Hatmaker - March 26th, 2013 at 2:23 PM
I have a Protestant crush on the Pope.

Name - March 26th, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Thank you for your words - I've been struggling with what I've been seeing this week - the total disrespect/disregard for what this week really means - and you put the truth of it all here beautifully. I posted your link to my Facebook page - hope that's ok. Thank you for putting the words together that some of us can't seem to organize!! :)
Sandra - March 27th, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Speechless. I am the exact same way as you described in the beginning.....I can't make it the week up to Easter without crying at the drop of a hat.

Thank you for putting into words what I feel in my heart. Blessings :)
Brooke - March 27th, 2013 at 4:17 PM
I agree. My heart is heavy as Easter approaches. Yet as our church (that my husband is a pastor at: after recently leaving the Army) drops easter eggs out of a helicopter to do something fun..after the service....while we get people engaged in the idea of JESUS as our one and only savior and focus. I have mixed feelings about it, possibly as you did when your husband had his last job. I know our church loves the Lord. I know we want to reach the unloved, the lost. We do that. But could we do more? Although we say, "easter eggs don't matter, JESUS matters" we have the eggs because we are IN the world...and the world has eggs....so we will let our kids pick up eggs while telling them about how it is a "fun thing to do" but has nothing to do with our faith. WE will drop eggs to try to reach them...to try to bring them in. We don't want to use gimmicks to find Jesus. Alas...I feel lost in the mess.
I love Jesus. I want others to know him. But I don't want to use all the worldy junk to help others.
Thanks for speaking truth. I read Seven. I am reading Interrupted. I love the way you write.
Jen Hatmaker - March 28th, 2013 at 7:23 PM
I fully understand your tension, Brooke. Just know that I'll be praying for your service and that people are irrevocably drawn to Jesus and lives are changed. It's the best we can do, right? May He be glorified in all the sanctuaries this weekend, in all the many ways we will worship. Love to you.
Arabah Joy - March 28th, 2013 at 7:16 AM
Jen, I am new to your blog so this comment must be taken with grace :) I admittedly don't know much about you or the way you are living out your faith. Please forgive? As I neared the end of your post, I felt the burn of passion inside my own heart, a resounding "amen." Yet even so, I felt the post was left unfinished. I wanted to ask, "How are YOU taking the hope of Easter into the darkness?" Tell us you are going to the hard places. I hungered for the "show" behind the "tell."

"Church, let%u2019s bring Jesus%u2019 hope into the darkness this Easter %u2013 the lonely street corners, the strip clubs, the shelters, the prisons, the sad places."

It is not uncommon to hear this message in Christian circles. It is easy to say because it sounds good and lends a certain appearance of godliness. Occasional trips to the soup kitchen can make us feel smug and satisfied in our self-righteousness. What IS uncommon is to see it lived out, in the humility and meekness of Christ. It is uncommon to see someone actually doing it, not here and there as a self-satisfying act, but as a lifestyle. A life broken and poured out and free from the desire of man's approval. I long for such an example, one of actually doing... taking the towel and wiping the feet... not in telling everyone to take the towel and wipe feet. Telling is good; showing is better.

Again, I am not directing this at you in particular as I am new around here and I've not read your books. I'm expressing an ache in my heart, a deep desire for that itch in us all to be scratched. My point is to say that we need a model. We need an example. We want someone to mimic. We want to see where you go, what you do, how you do it. Show us how to do this thing! Because words are a dime a dozen but a real servant? Even Paul said, "each man looks after his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." Who will be the servant leader? May it be me. May it be you.


Very humbly, a sister in Christ
Jen Hatmaker - March 28th, 2013 at 3:25 PM
Our church cancels the service, and we go downtown to the intersection where our homeless community is concentrated, and we feed 1000 people. Then we worship together and take communion. I didn't include it in the post because this is not a template and I am not prescribing a response. Mercy can look one million different ways and it is all precious to Jesus.
Beth eldridge - March 28th, 2013 at 8:38 AM
Thank you ! I did not buy a new outfit..wearing my jeans. Sending what I might have and add it to God's Kingdom.
Sherry Macy - March 28th, 2013 at 11:25 AM
I'm so "with you" on this post I want to share it as the lead article in this week's church newsletter (not simply the link). How do I get permission to do this?
Jen Hatmaker - March 28th, 2013 at 7:21 PM
Permission granted! ;0)
Mariah - March 29th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Oh, Jhat. So good. I'm a broken mess, but that's what God wants, apparently.
Wendy McIndoo - March 29th, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I read your blog in our church newsletter. You express so eloquently what I feel every year. But these last 2 years have been filled with joy, even in the midst of brokenness. Last year my godly and very musical mother died on her 91st birthday. It was a difficult time but on Easter Sunday as we were signing "Love's redeeming work is done, fought the fight the battle won. Death in vain forbids him rise, Christ has opened paradise, Hallelujah", I had a vision of my mother leading us all in that song with her radiant smile and joyful countenance. In that moment, God lifted my brokenness and filled me with awe and joy at what he had done for my mother, for me, for all those who seek him. "Raised like him, like him we rise, Hallelujah."
Bobbie - March 29th, 2013 at 5:41 PM
Wow..beautifully and powerfully said to describe my favorite of holidays! I too am frequently undone by what our Lord did for all of us...
amanda june - March 29th, 2013 at 9:32 PM
your tender heart and broken hallelujah are such a beautiful picture of the devotion merited by our humble king. what a gift from him to be able to experience his death and resurrection so deeply, and i'm betting it was also a huge gift for those people who heard you read scripture as you wept...it sounds completely appropriate to me. thanks for sharing your passionate heart.
Claire - March 30th, 2013 at 12:03 AM
A broken hallelujah indeed. The cross calls me during Easter. It calls and calls, and when I turn to it, there is nothing else. Nothing at all. Everything else pales in comparison to the astounding grace and power of the cross. Everything else falls away, and I am laid bare. And it is a beautiful thing.

One note that seems to make me stand out from the crowd here-- I LOVE to dress up for Easter. And I have always loved it,even as a young child. After 3 days of darkness and grief, I am so ready to pull out my celebration clothes. My dancing clothes. I live in the PacNW, and out church is a jeans and tees kind of place. But not me on Easter. I'm pulling out my best, and I'm loving wearing it, even if I do stick out like a sore thumb. I'm a giddy on grace sore thumb, and that's okay for me. :)
Jamie - March 30th, 2013 at 4:07 PM
My husband and I are from Texas but currently living in Jerusalem. We've witnessed and experienced many broken hallelujah's here. Thank you for the blessing of truth in this post, it was a great encouragement to me. I was fortunate to read it before walking into the Old City on Good Friday, following many pilgrims along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was traditionally crucified, buried, and raised. There are lots of "traditions" here, but this site is one of the strongest - in any case, it is VERY near the actual place and the heaviness of that implication cannot be missed. While we were there your words returned to me and I felt led to pray specifically for you, your family, and the ministry our Savior is doing through you. You were specifically prayed for at the place where the greatest story ever lived unfolded. May this Resurrection celebration be the sweetest you've ever experienced; may HIS Love continue to draw you, and pour out from you as we seek to fulfill His call to invite Hope into the world.
Kris - March 31st, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Thank you, Jen. And amen.
Hannah - March 31st, 2013 at 7:14 PM
I love the spirit of this post. We served in north India as a family for some years and will be returning in January. Getting outside our culture and talking about Jesus with different words helped to clarify, for us, what parts of our cultural holiday emphases we wanted to keep and those we found spiritually confusing. Santa? Eh, not so interested. But dressing up for Easter? Yes! In India, even poor people dress in the best they have when they want to show that some event is special. A street sweeper will look dirty in the day, but at a wedding she will be covered in sparkles.

I love this. In fact, I mourn the fact that Americans seem to think little of a lot of occasions. They show it by wearing pajamas to the store or ripped jeans to the funeral parlor. While I know (!) the Lord looks at the heart, we sometimes show what's special to us by the way we dress. Because Easter is so glorious, it makes sense to wear our finest! Indians certainly understand that. It would seem disrespectful to do otherwise.

Having said that, I think that the way we spend our money *throughout the year* has a greater impact than foregoing a new dress for your daughter, or some patent leather shoes. As for the chocolate and chicks and bunnies? We tell our kids that these are cultural symbols of new life. But that the greatest demonstration of new life was Jesus' resurrection from the grave.

So Easter traditions do not pose a problem for me. I just don't see the rub. But you know what's hard to explain to people used to worshiping scary-looking deities? Our national obsession with Halloween. For that reason, when we're overseas, we don't acknowledge the holiday at all. It's too confusing.

We all have to work these things out for ourselves with fear and trembling--being careful not to despise other believers who come to other/different conclusions. My 2 cents.
Jacqueline - April 1st, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Amen! Our broken response is what our Savior delights in! I feel you, totally. I do not celebrate Easter, but keep the Lord's Supper as you quoted above in Luke 22, but without fail, every year, I feel the very same emotions and am humbly grateful that He gave up so much for me. For us! Loved this!
Melani - April 1st, 2013 at 9:36 PM
Jen - Can I share this in my MOPS newsletter?
Kim - April 3rd, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I'm the same way with Easter. Last year on Palm Sunday I sang (a.k.a. bawled my eyes out) in our church choir performance. I didn't participate this year. Easter really moves me. I am so thankful for what Jesus did for us.
Tara - April 3rd, 2013 at 8:33 PM
I was so moved by this post. It totally changed how our family worshiped this Easter. I blogged about it here: http://remnantofgrace.blogspot.com/2013/04/ordinary-but-holy-part-2.html Be sure and read part 1 where I link this post and WHY it moved me, first. Thank you so much! It was a day we will never forget.
Susanne K - April 5th, 2013 at 9:05 AM
Amen
Vera C. - April 7th, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Just found your blog this week "after" Resurrection Sunday, but Amen and Amen!!!
Thank you for the Truth you have written about for and through our Wonderful Savior!!!
Ginger - April 7th, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Reading this a week after Easter, but couldn't have come at better time. I also read your blog about doldrums, because I've been feeling this way spiritually for a while. I go through periods of tension, feeling I'm not doing enough, complaining that my church is not doing enough, then I read about Christ suffering and I feel so inadequate. I feel like something has to change in my life, but sometimes I don't know where to start. I've been feeling this way for months and I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for reminding me of the simplicity of the gospel and the depth of Christ's love.
Jennifer - April 16th, 2013 at 8:09 AM
Jen,
Your post inspired our family. I thought you might want to read this:
http://heswithus.blogspot.com/2013/04/t-shirts-for-easter.html
God Bless you!!!
JoeV - May 10th, 2013 at 3:15 PM
Brought tears to my eyes.
Jessica Hatmaker - February 13th, 2014 at 8:29 PM
This beautiful post always leaves me speechless whenever I reread it... A broken hallelujah for sure.
Maria - April 19th, 2014 at 8:34 AM
I think I might come back every year to read this post. Thank you for writing it!
Lisa - April 20th, 2014 at 8:37 PM
Once again you wrote just what I was feeling. My young daughter always ask why do you cry so much at Easter. I thought there was something wrong with me as I left all the "Easter" festivities overcome by the circus yesterday. The kids were hunting eggs, petting farm animals and riding ponies, but all I kept thinking was "what does this have to do with Easter." It was painful to see so much joy and all I could feel was sorrow. Sorrow for so many left out in the rain, the hurting, neglected, those needing to see Jesus. I needed to see Jesus, there at my church. I just. could. not. Today we went to church in our regular clothes, & ate a regular meal.
Keely - April 21st, 2014 at 11:41 AM
100%. The showy-ness of "traditional" Easter services break my heart. If a congregation leaves in awe of the performance and not in awe of our Savior something is horribly wrong.
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