I’ve noticed over the past few years a bit of an affront on Easter, from the non-religious and very religious alike. The gist is that this holiday is nothing more than an adaption of pagan celebrations. The conclusion, depending on who makes the argument, is either that it proves Christianity is an invention of men, or that we’re somehow making a joke of Christ’s atonement.
I have another point of view. When Christ was with us in the flesh, he often spoke in parables. By doing so he not only obfuscated the deep principles from those who would rather not receive them, he also helped those who wanted to know the truth by giving them a means to relate. I believe God loves us as His children, and what parent would not adapt their delivery to help their child understand? Particularly when the message is this: “I am here. I love you, and I want you to be happy. Please trust me, and I will help you.”
So, when you’ve got a group of converts who already celebrate spring and the new life it produces, I doubt there’s anything wrong with creating an allegory of sorts, so long as the message isn’t lost.
Ironically, I’m celebrating this Easter in the southern hemisphere. It’s not springtime here at all. It’s cold and rainy, but still very beautiful and full of life.
Still, just before I left I had a springtime experience of sorts that reminded me of God’s love for me. I’ll attempt to put it to words.
As a northern-hemispherer, I have always related my Easter celebrations to Spring in that it’s a time of returning to the light of Christ. Earth doesn’t warm itself, the sun does. We don’t save ourselves, the Son does. The Son doesn’t withdraw from us. We withdraw from Him. I’ve always though that. But what I realized the other day was how time and patience plays into the process.
Most of us who experience four seasons know what it’s like to have a glorious, “Spring has finally returned!” moment only to open our door the next morning to snow.
Likewise, those of us who have sincerely tried to repent understand the frustration of going from a spiritual high to feeling lost yet again in our weaknesses. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably felt a bit hopeless from time to time.
But the other day when I woke to several inches of snow on my step, I had this beautiful realization that had eluded me before: this snow was just temporary. In winter that snow might stay a long time. But now the sun would have it cleared up in a matter of days, if not hours, because the Earth (at least where I stood then) was continuing to turn itself toward its source of warmth and light. Christ’s message is not one of hopelessness. It’s not one of of, “You’ve had this spiritual moment, but you screwed up again. Now you’re REALLY damned!” It is simply that, as we return to Him, and continue to return in spite of any setbacks, He will help us. We’ll get better day by day as we look to Him. That is faith in Christ. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
And with that I’ll share my favorite inspirational video (again):
Off to find the local church here in Petropolis 🙂 Happy Easter!