Easter is the gospel of Christ poured into a single weekend. Death and resurrection. Suffering and hope. God’s purposes and God’s promises.

Not just poured out. Stretched out. Like the arms of Jesus on the cross. This and that. Ying and Yang. Bad news, good news. Ending and beginning.

It is a wonder that so much of the gospel should be encompassed within three days. All the plans of God compressed into a solitary spring afternoon—God’s wrath, God’s love, God’s gift. All the power of God focused on the darkness of a cold tomb—life … hope … newness. How many millennia prepared the world for those three days? How many millennia will be shaped by those three days? The pivot point of history. The fulcrum by which God moved a world.

It’s a good thing we celebrate Easter each year. It keeps us grounded. In a religious environment that tends towards complexity, Easter invites us to keep the gospel simple: cross and tomb, death and life. In a culture crowded with the trivial and the temporary, Easter points us to the profound. In a relativity world, where the only measure is man and the yardstick is made of rubber, Easter proclaims some absolutes: sin is serious … grace is costly … God is good.

Easter permits us—people of faith—to rehearse our central story. It calls us to remember and reflect and recount. But it does one thing more. It provides an audience for the story we tell. Like no other time of the year, the world is listening at Easter.

I’m told that diamond cutters, before placing the blade against raw stone, look carefully for fracture planes in the structure of the rock-crystal. At the right spot, from the right angle, with the right amount of force, a blow will break the diamond to leave behind a shining, brilliant facet. Done badly, the diamond will disintegrate into dust.

It seems to me that Easter provides the same service. Most of the year, we bang away thoughtlessly at a sin-sated world, and wonder that so much effort should result in little more than dust. But Easter points out the fracture planes of our culture. Easter shows us where to put the blade of the gospel. Easter sets the angle of attack. Easter suggests how much force to use.

There! Do you see it? The fracture plane of guilt and disappointment and regret. Put the edge of the cross there and deliver a sharp blow. Now there! The fracture plane of loneliness and yearning, the sense that we were made for better things, the hunger for second chances. Use the cross again. That’s it!

And what about here? Here’s the place where dead hopes have gathered and dead dreams amassed. Set the voice of God—calling Jesus to come forth from the tomb—into this crevice. Careful! Not too hard! Don’t overwhelm your diamond-in-the-rough with hope all at once.

And here, where the image of God lies dormant … drowsy and dreaming and almost dead. Put the shout of victory here. Tap just hard enough to wake the image up, to get its attention, to show it that resurrection is on the horizon.

The story of Easter touches the world where it is most likely to break. In the story of the selfless cross, the world is convicted of its selfish and empty ways. In the nobility of sacrifice, the world is confronted with its own base pursuits. In the love that gives all, the world must face it’s self-absorbed greed. In contrast to the promise of new life, the world confesses its graceless and dead-end aims. As an alternative to the power of resurrection, the world can only object that death is what we know.

Point by point, angle by angle, blow by blow, Easter is hammering away at our world, exposing each shining, brilliant, God-made facet, creating again a world envisioned in the first creation. With that sure instinct for where our world is weak—in our regrets and in our hopes—the gospel story opens us up again to the possibility that sin can be forgiven, that God loves us this much, that there might be a brighter, higher, lovelier way for us to live than the darkling lives we’ve known.

So in this Easter season, tell the simple, profound, transformative story of the cross and the tomb. Place the story carefully against the lives of the people you love and tap with your own confession and gratitude. Watch the story seek out fracture planes that you did not see yourself. And witness the power of a story to touch and break and uncover beauty never imagined.