In the Christian tradition, Easter weekend is typically a time of death to life.
It's both a somber weekend and a joyous celebration.
No matter where I am in life, I always find myself a little more introspective.
To be honest, Easter has rarely been a time of joy for me. It's kind of
a Groundhog Day of sorts. I know, every year, Easter is coming, but I
can't live it out and step away. The dying happens over and over. It's
never done. Something in me dies every day.
I am in part inspired
to write this morning, because I just scrolled past yet another image
of the man in the White House that engendered multiple negative
feelings. I initially felt a gag reflex. Yes. True story. I gagged. You
see, the image was somewhat a double entendre, and it was so suggestive,
I had to gag. And then I felt an actual tangible ache, deep ache in my
heart. To think that people who profess a faith in the man whose death
and resurrection is observed on Easter weekend, would actually look up
to and defend this man who would sooner hammer the nails himself.
And just after that photo, a photo of a Syrian family in a field. It
stops me in my tracks, it's beautiful. Children in vibrant colors and
yellow flowers dot the green landscape. But it's a story about people
being bombed, even in their safe places. The space negotiated as safe
for evacuees on both sides is bombed. And thoughts of all the Christian
people I know who only want to bomb Syria from afar, but exclude them
from our country. And my mind just can't comprehend.
And it's all
the more palpable over Easter weekend, these thoughts and reactions. I
sat there and thought about sharing the first photo and my disgust over
it. And then I thought….maybe simmer down, it's Easter weekend. And then
I thought about the response if I did post it. Maybe no one would even
respond. But if they scrolled past, they'd be thinking: That was a long
time ago. People change.
It is a weekend celebrating new life after all.
Then I thought about my own embarrassing deeds. Thankfully, (as far as I
know), there's no photos. There's no grab em by the….audio. There's
just stories. And times I made people feel bad. And private things.
Thoughts and actions. And I realized, if I ever became a public figure, I
would own it. I would wear my remorse like a badge. Because there is
strength in honesty. There is life in death. Prune a rose tree and it
grows back stronger and more beautiful the next year.
And then I saw the Syrian family, and I knew I wanted to say something. But what?
For some reason though, things are amplified for me around Easter. I've
had some traumatic experiences. I once had someone close to me scream
at the top of his lungs with wild eyes that I was a whore. Yes. A whore.
On Easter. He was not a romantic partner, but had strong opinions on what makes a
whore, and most of you would likely disagree. Reaching back even further
in time, I had another man tell me he thought I was a prostitute. It
was awkward. So awkward. He'd called me into his bedroom to tell me this
whilst everyone was just outside circling up, holding hands to pray on
Easter. I'm sure their eyes nervously darted around the room as the
raised voice lashed out. And I was being apologized to? It didn't feel
like it because it felt like I was still being called a prostitute….and
then his wife came in and screamed at both of us, and that was just all
the weirdness a kid could take. Side note…I was entirely a virgin at
this time. So….that's a head scratcher for sure. But my cheeks got hot
and I felt the shame of a thousand harlots. And a piece of me died.
A string of these kinds of stories is why I observe Easter as my own personal Groundhog Day.
Something died in me those days. Because I was not who these men
accused me of being. And yet, I was also not perfect. So all the shame
and guilt for the bad things I had done mingled with the shame and guilt
of the things I was falsely accused of, and I was a heap.
So, you can imagine, that outside of any religious observations, Easter and I, we have a complicated relationship.
Here's the thing, I feel a deep remorse any time I realize I've caused
pain to others. That badge I wear, it's not with pride. Something dies
in me those days too.
I don't feel like this man in the White
House feels any remorse. I think, more than anything, he regrets getting
caught. He's glossed over his indiscretions and made fleeting
apologies. And it's not my place to judge or speculate what is in his
heart. But without comparing him to anyone else, but who his better self
could be, it kills me that people professing that Jesus rose from the
dead on Easter, would look up to a man, defend a man, that in his public
life has sounded the very antithesis of the one who died. Who stands and
lives for America First? Him first? No death to any desire, but false
promises of giving people what they want and not really what they need
and delivering neither.
And my beef isn't with that man. Well…it
is politically. But more than that, I struggle this Easter to make heads
or tails of a people who make every justification for a demagogue. And
while they justify the demagogue, they justify things I just cannot find
in the bible.
It's funny. It seems like the evangelical
Christians accuse the progressive Christians of only wanting to see
Jesus and focus on love. (As if that's a bad thing?) But what I see more often than not,
is the evangelicals longing for a time before the cross. A time when
tribes were good or bad, in or out. And though there was no America at
the time of the OT, for some reason, American Evangelicals think their
tribe is in. Special blessed. When everything about Jesus tells me he
wants one tribe. I think the Old Testament tribalism in post Christ
times led to The Crusades. We continue these misguided Crusades even today. Both through disingenuous wars for oil or in our daily lives as people
kill with their tongues, all in the name of a god who is made in man's
It's nigh impossible for me to celebrate a living
Jesus, when so many of his followers seem to be killing everything Jesus
And so, I grapple with the groundhog every year.
Will there be a spring with new life? Or are we going to continue in
this winter way? The winter of my discontent, as I connect those same
traumatized feelings as a younger person, to the trauma I feel today.
Right now, instead of a death and resurrection, I am struggling to see
past just the death of compassion and grace and generosity and dignity.
Perhaps the resurrection is in me, as I learn to die to myself, my me
first attitude, and offer to bring more compassion and grace and
generosity and dignity to those around me. And thankfully, I know I am
not alone in doing so.
Thanks to Jen Hatmaker for sharing her own raw stories. Perhaps inspired by her, I share this.