My Thoughts on Easter
This Easter will be different than any other Easter any of us has ever seen. But regardless of the scourge that now persists upon the Earth this year, it is still a time of rejoicing for Christians around the world; it is a time of rebirth and a time of a renewal of faith.
Remember that the first Christians celebrated the very first Easter hunkered down behind a locked door fearful that they were being hunted by the same people who crucified Jesus. So, this won’t be the first time Easter has been celebrated by Christians hunkered down fearful of what may await them beyond that locked door.
And so I have been thinking about how much we all need a resurrection – a resurrection within us. Each morning when we wake we can choose how we will be on that day. In a sense, in a way, it’s like a daily resurrection. Our spirits can be lifted, our bodies and faith renewed. We can choose to be the person we’ve always wanted to be or we can continue being the person we are.
If we are lucky we are both of those – the person we are is the person we have always wanted to be. But I believe that’s very rare. Most of us wish we were better people, more faithful, more compassionate, less judgmental, less confrontational, and happier.
Sadly, I often find myself judging others because of the way they look, how they live, what they have, what they don’t have, what they have or have not done. But I have no right to do that. I have no right to judge anyone, no matter who they are, what they look like, how rich or poor, how they live, what they have, or what they’ve done. My resurrection comes every day I wake. I get to choose the kind of person I will be on that day. Will I be the person I want to be or will I be the person I was yesterday? Will I be a better person today than I was yesterday? It’s up to me. In a way, it’s my resurrection.
You’re probably thinking that I can change all I want, but everyone else will see and know me as I was yesterday. And I say: So what? What difference does it make what anyone else thinks? It makes no difference at all unless we let it make a difference. So tomorrow when we wake we can be resurrected – we can be the person we have always wanted to be or we can take the easy way and be what we’ve always been. And blessed is the one who is both.
It’s Eastertime. With the world under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the churches, which would normally be packed with worshippers, will be empty.
But let us remember that Jesus said that we should pray in private and not pray in public so we can be seen praying. So on Easter pray in private and pray for those who are less fortunate than you. Let us all pray for the sick, the infected, the handicapped, the hungry, the starving. Let us all pray to be better people.
Why is it we see hell clearer than we see heaven? Here’s what I mean: The world, no doubt, is full of evil. People killing people. People using people for their own gain. Jihadists blowing up airports and train stations – and skyscrapers. Rapists, murderers, marauders, cheaters, abusers – we all can see the worst of humanity more clearly than we can see the best in the world.
What about the health care workers, the doctors, the nurses, those who work to serve us and risk their lives every day during the COVID19 pandemic. They are heroes. They are the best of humanity.
The moms and dads and grandparents who love and are loved by their family. The children going off to school knowing they are loved. The heroes. The everyday heroes – the brother who gives a kidney to a sister so that she may live, parents who protect their children, the mom who wakes up early every morning to fix her kids’ lunch to take to school. The dad who works two jobs to provide for his family. They too are the best of humanity.
We can see all the hell in our world more clearly than all the little pieces of heaven. Why do you think that is? Are we Christians because we say we are? Are we Christians because we show up in church each week and sing hymns and listen to our priests and pastors tell us what the Scriptures mean?
Do you know what I think? I think everyone, whether Christian or not, should read the words upon which Jesus based his teaching and the foundation upon which all Christian churches are – or should be – built.
I don’t proselytize. I don’t care much for proselytizers. Everyone should have the freedom and the right to believe or not believe as they choose. I don’t write this to knock on your door and hand you a pamphlet telling you’re not going to Heaven if you don’t believe as I do. No, that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to ask you to read the words of Jesus that every one of us, Christian or not — should aspire.
It’s Eastertime and the reason for the season is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his rebirth and the rebirth of faith. Whether you believe or not, whether you call yourself Christian or not, if we all lived by these words from the Man, the Teacher from Galilee, the world would have a lot less hell and a lot more Heaven:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”
“…You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?…
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
” So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him…”
No matter who you are, or what your religion is or isn’t, or what you believe, I hope those Words will guide you today, tomorrow and always. If all of us lived by those words, the world would be much a lot more like heaven and a lot less like hell.
The world would be a much better place.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed…”
Stay well, stay safe, hold on tight to your faith and we’ll all get through this.
Have a very Happy Easter!