As Easter approaches, I’m not really sure what to do with myself. Ever since I came to Abilene, church hasn’t felt right; it feels put-upon or disingenuous. It seems that no one attempts to search themselves, but instead choose to search others for wrongdoing. No one searches for truth in passages in the Bible, but instead mashes together a bunch of verses in an attempt to find what they want. I hope this is not everywhere, but sadly this is what I have experience so far.
So in light of those experiences, I want to focus on the truth of the event this Easter; what the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus means without emotional music and flashing lights.I want to focus on the truth that is just as evident in a quiet room as it is in a stadium of screaming people.
Because if the gospel is as powerful as it claims to be, and I believe that it is, then I want to experience its message in its most honest form. I don’t want to be persuaded by soulful improv piano behind a prayer. If the prayer speaks truth, then the truth will speak for itself. I don’t want to be blinded by a stunning presentation, because if the message is moving, then the words will move you on their own.
I feel this way because I think these powerful truths, which are recorded in the gospels, are self-evident. I think that the message of pure sacrifice and all-encompassing love is written on everyone’s heart, even if that message has become occluded or shoved aside. The message that we are redeemed by love, and that our redemption makes true love possible, cannot be escaped. Also, the conviction that this truth proposes cannot be ignored: that unless we treat each other with love and care like we have been treated, we are denying our true purpose.
This conviction is something that is very clear to me. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way, but to me violence and hurt is not only wrong, but it is unnatural. When I think about how violence could be committed in a true and organic way (not that I spend a lot of time thinking about it) nothing seems to fit those qualifications. Plato talks about how everything on this earth is a shadow or lesser variation of a true ideal, but with violence, what is this ultimate truth? What is the ultimate idea that encompasses all the violence and hurt in the world? I don’t think this supposed higher truth exists, because it was never intended in the universe’s original iteration. Violence is the entropy or degradation of an ideal, not the ideal itself.
But love, love is oh so different. True love is as close to a higher ideal that man can attain, in my opinion. Love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love! (Thanks Ewin McGregor) And what better love is this: that a man would sacrifice his life for that of another. It is a great irony that a concept which was not intended and which is unnatural destroyed the only thing that was intended and is ideal. But this destruction only lasted for three days. It is a great victory that love, and the truth behind it, conquered and overcame that which sought to erode and undermine it.
On this Easter, I want to seek the truths and ideals that transcend this world, this shadowland of a higher ideal. (Thanks C.S. Lewis) I want to write them on my doorposts and in my heart in an honest way; one without pretension and presentation. I hope the same for everyone else too, no matter where they spend their Sunday.
This is just what I am searching for this year. Everyone is in a different place and needs different things from religious experience and expression. I hope that what I wrote holds true for some people, and that for others, they can learn about a different perspective. Its the variety of understanding that makes us great.