I am a Christian.
I do not proselytize. I do not try to convert nonbelievers.
I have not made it my life’s mission to preach the Word. Because of a tremendous amount of bad press in the media and backlash elsewhere, it’s actually not something I talk much about. My faith is my own.
My relationship with God is my own.
At the Last Supper, Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times. He told Jesus he never would.
As we all know, he did.
Is not speaking about my faith a form of denial?
If so, than I am “outing” myself today.
Given that this is the week Christians honor the death—and celebrate the rebirth—of Jesus, I’ve been thinking a lot about this.
And jelly beans.
I’ve seen several conversations about Easter on Facebook. One friend said it is the holiday he reviled the most. A friend of his talked about Easter as “the return of the Jesus zombie.” Many posts with pictures of Peeps and chocolate bunnies and recipes for chocolate birds nests and the like fill my news feed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and jelly beans. But I have seen very little in my feed about the religious importance of this week.
Regardless of where you stand on Jesus (Was he an average man with great press? A prophet? Or was he truly the son of God come to save us all?), one thing remains certain: he is a man who loved us so much that he gave his life so that we could be reborn.
He gave his life.
From all accounts, his last days were pretty brutal. But he was committed to his cause of saving us. All of us.
“Father forgive them. For they know not what they do.” ~ Luke 23:34
Someone who never knew me, two thousand years before I was born, loved me so much that he voluntarily endured a horrible death, so that I could live.
For this, I am extremely grateful.
Would I die for someone? Anyone? Maybe my children, but honestly, that’s probably it.
“Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.” ~ Luke 23:43
I attend church fairly regularly. I love the community and I want my children to experience a foundation of faith. What they manifest in their lives as they navigate their life path remains to be seen, but my hope is that this foundation will help them stand tall in the world.
However, my faith is bigger than the dogma taught there. I have experienced Divine love and have been in the light. This is not something I talk about; I am concerned that people might think I’m crazy, or delusional, or making it up, or believe things about me that are much less kind.
Therefore, only a handful of people knew about it…until now.
The love I felt while I was in the light was all-encompassing and saturated every pore of my being, and absolutely without a shadow of a doubt, 100% unconditional. The only comparison I can make that is even remotely close is the love I felt the first time I held my children, and even that pales in comparison.
Having experienced this, I cannot believe in a vengeful God, tracking our every slip-up and punishing us for our mistakes. I also cannot believe in a God who would single out a group of people for their sexual orientation and intentionally cull them from the herd of the faithful. The love I felt was so vast, that it could easily encompass the Universe and every sentient being in it.
I come back to my faith daily, the way I come back to my yoga mat: I feel whole when I return to source.
The week before Easter, for me, is a week of contemplation. What am I doing with my life? Am I living it the way I want to? In a way that serves my own and my community’s highest good? In a way that makes me proud?
It’s an annual re-set; my opportunity to stop beating myself for my mistakes, change what needs to be changed, let go of what no longer serves me, and start fresh.
So this Easter, while I am eating my jelly beans, I will speak my faith out loud. My hope is that we can lay our differences aside and come together to honor this man, and His gift to us. And be grateful for His gift.
Maybe if we all do this, regardless of our different beliefs, there can be one day of peace in the world.
It’s a start.
Author: Kendra Hackett
Editor: Renée Picard
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