This coming Sunday is the fifth Sunday of Easter. The Christian Church decided a long time ago that life is too short not to celebrate. And that there’s too much good news in Easter to get in all the celebrating in one day.
Or one week.
Or even one month.
So Happy Easter!
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
It’s a good blog, people tell me sometimes. But kinda depressing.
And I get that.
Monday, after all, I wrote about the court-ordered killing of a disabled woman. Wednesday I wrote about a government-subsidized organization fighting to avoid saving babies’ lives.
(CCL Remara Photography)
This God creates a world in which it is possible for children to be mistreated in extreme and unmentionable ways — even gunned down at elementary school. This God creates a world in which women are allowed to be abducted and enslaved to sex purveyors who not only have them continually raped and abused, but see them turned to stone — their hearts destroyed and every dream of a good married life with children forever denied them. This God creates a world where people can starve and die of malnutrition and dysentery moment to moment . . . by the millions.
“What sort of God would do this?” asks the doubter, the sensitive soul who desires justice and fairness and a good life for everyone. Who can believe in or worship this God? Isn’t it better to tough it out, deal with doubt and grief, and do something rather than passively believe?
The Agony in the Garden (Hans Leonhard Schaufelein, 1516)
And so we come again to Holy Week. In the church I grew up in, it was essentially just the week before Easter. Oh, we talked from time to time about the doctrinal significance of the Crucifixion—atonement, expiation, forgiveness—but we really never entered the story.
Never, that is, spent much time discussing, much less feeling, what it would have been like to be alone. In the dark. Waiting.
I grew up wondering what lint had to do with church.
My sole source of information on the subject was Billy Wyatt, who always showed up late to school, and with a black smudge on his forehead, one morning a month or two after Christmas vacation. Billy seemed pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. About all we ever got out of him was that it was Ash Wednesday. And that the priest had said, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” We would keep an eye on him for a while, but when he didn’t give any evidence of disintegrating any time soon, we lost interest in Ash Wednesday.
I mean, no candy, no presents. Letting someone tell you you’re dirt. Clearly not as user-friendly a holiday as, say, Christmas.
But then something happened.