So it’s the day after Easter Sunday. Let’s suppose that you had died and been raised from the dead. Yesterday was the big celebration of the astonishing gift of “another life,” as they say in video games. How will you spend it?
In video games, indeed, one typically just goes right back at it. Perhaps you learned a thing or two about what got you killed in the first place, and you’re determined to repent of your mistaken attitude or action and proceed more carefully this time. Okay, then: off we go again.
Perhaps, instead, you learned to pursue a different strategy entirely. Clearly, knocking on these doors or chasing these goals or proceeding on these paths isn’t getting you anywhere but dead. Time to re-think the approach to the game.
Perhaps, however, in the time it took the game to resurrect you, your head cleared, your game-fever broke, and you saw suddenly that the game itself wasn’t worth the hassle. Better goals came to mind, and it’s time to pursue them instead.
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Over the last few years, I’ve posted several reflections pertinent to Holy Week. Some of you (especially those of you preparing sermons!) might be glad to have them rounded up:
On Providence, including the Garden of Gethsemane: here
On Good Friday and Atonement: here
On the revelatory strangeness of the Cross: here
On Easter Sunday and the Resurrection: here
On Easter Weekend in general: here
And on a sad, sour note, a post on those who exploit Easter, and Christianity in general, for antithetical agendas: here
Here is a lovely passage from the sprightly, charming, and ruthlessly honest testimony of English writer Jane Christmas as she considers, in her fifties, whether to become a nun, And Then There Were Nuns (Greystone, 2013). It challenges me each time I read it:
The true work of a contemplative nun is praying. I had never appreciated the power and intensity of prayer until I prayed with nuns.
On the surface, praying seems easy. Knit your eyebrows in concentrations, mutter a few words, and then get on with your day. It’s not like that in a convent. Think of the hardest job you could do—mining comes to my mind—and then imagine doing that in silence and in a dress.
Every day the sisters descended into the Pit of the Soul, picked at the seam of despair, sadness, tragedy, death, sickness, grief, destruction, and poverty, loaded it all onto a cart marked “For God,” and hauled it up from the depths of concern to the surface of mercy, where they cleaned it and polished it. It was heavy, laborious work.