I talked to a young (to me) woman last week.  I believe (I’m not entirely sure) that she would consider herself a Christian.  (I’ve actually talked to her on a number of occasions.)  She knows I’m an Episcopal priest, and she was wondering about Easter …  What happened on Easter?  What were we celebrating?

She’s a bright young woman.  So, although I know there is what I would consider to be an amazing ignorance about what Christianity is in our culture today, I was taken by surprise.  We established that we commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross on Good Friday.  We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on the third day on Easter.  Yes, we say that Jesus is God’s son.  But we believe Jesus is God, part of the Trinity (one God in three persons), present at the creation (before Jesus was born as a fully human being).  I noted that the Trinity and the Incarnation (Jesus was fully human and fully God) are often called mysteries:  things we believe but cannot really explain.  (I wish I’d said that we believe God can and does do things we cannot fully explain, but I didn’t phrase things this way.)

All of this was new to her.  So was the fact that Christians use scripture (the Jewish Bible or Old Testament) that is authoritative to Jews as well as scripture (the Christian or New Testament) that is not believed by Jews.  And the fact that Muslims honor both Jewish and Christian scriptures, though for them the Koran is more authoritative.

It just surprised me.

It was actually an honor that she wanted to understand these things, and trusted me to present a picture of what we believe.

But, as I said, I believe from prior conversations that she understands herself to be a Christian.  She’s bright.  The basics of Christianity had, it seems, never been taught.  That’s a pretty basic failing on our part.