I am longing to be able to write wisely and from my heart about my feelings about Easter. I know I will fall short and disappoint myself. But I am compelled to at least make an attempt. Others have far more sophisticated ideas than I am able to come up with and I would absolutely welcome hearing from anyone who can take this dilemma further for me.
As a child, Easter was about the Easter bunny and my mother played games with me when I got old enough to get that a rabbit does not in fact dash around the world leaving chocolate candies for children. Not even a cadre of rabbits could accomplish such a feat. Her game was to replace the chocolate marshmallow cookies that were my favourite at that time (I dislike them very much today!), every time I ate one. So each time a cookie left the basket, another appeared. I caught on and she gave me the whole package. Good deal!
As I grew a bit older we decorated hard boiled eggs and someone (the Easter bunny again?) hid them on Easter Sunday morning and we raced around looking for them before putting on brand new clothes and going to Sunday school to sing songs about Jesus and Resurrection. I was glad Jesus got out of that cave and Mary and Martha took care of him.
I listened intently to the Easter story at Sunday school and took books out of the library and did a lot of small child thinking…..but didn’t fret much. That was long ago and about grown ups and didn’t mean a whole lot to me. When it began to mean more and I understood more I focused a lot on the agony of Jesus, and on the incredible courage it took for him to face his enemies. And how broken his heart must have been to have so many people be so amazingly cruel when all he wanted to do was heal people and teach about love and kindness. I am not politically minded nor was I at an earlier age. I totally understand this was not simple or straight forward and was political as well as religious. But that doesn’t help me understand the religious story and teaching behind it all.
I never understood the part about God gave his son to die for our sins. What father would set his son up for such a cruel death? Even symbolically or metaphorically I struggle with the concept. How does Jesus suffering on a cross affect the sins of the world? He did it so we wouldn’t have to suffer…..but we do suffer. Needlessly perhaps, but we all carry suffer genes in our bodies.
It doesn’t feel to me like that plan worked…….even yesterday 30 or more people were mercilessly murdered in Brussels. The killing goes on. Jesus dying doesn’t exonerate what was done in Brussels and even more, it doesn’t seem to have changed our power hungry drive to be right and to take more and to do violence over our brothers and sisters and children all over the world.
I really believe there is beauty and hope and new and beginnings and growth in the story. But I do not at all understand the depth of the meaning of the story. It is in my mind, heart, body, soul, spirit. I live with that story, it haunts me. I long for an in depth discussion about profound learning that I need help finding new and more words for. It isn’t just about love triumphs over hate. It isn’t just about betrayal is inevitable when fear is so great. It isn’t just about people turn on each other and someone very brave always pays a price. It isn’t even just about life beyond this life. I don’t think it needed to be so violent for that to be the reason for this story to be told originally and then to live for more than 2,000 years.
I understand the reason for religion: we need to believe/trust/have faith that there is something bigger than self. That we are looked after, taken care of, that we belong to something. I understand that ritual provides comfort and familiarity and provides ease of mind. I understand the beauty and magistracy of the pageantry and the music and the poetry and the art. All blessed. All Divine. All necessary for quality of life. I understand welcoming the sun and the beginning of new life and celebrating yet another cycle of life. I understand needing to cling to the hope that there is something more after now.
I do not understand needing profound betray and violence to make the point. Hence there must be more to the point……help me learn what that is, please.
In mystery, Nancy