Sunday, March 23, 2008

The REAL meaning of Easter

Today is Easter and I just got back from church. I don't go to church on a normal basis like I did when I was younger, but I have my daughters this weekend, and well, I just haven't been in a while, so I decided to go, it being Easter and all. I mean, that's what you do on Easter, right? Anyway, the subject of today's sermon focused on the fact that Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and not about a cute little bunny hopping along, delivering Easter baskets and hiding Easter eggs filled with candy for kids to find. It was about how real Jesus Christ and the resurrection are. Now, I know that resurrections are not everyday occurrences. I mean, they're just not normal. In fact, if I were to personally see one happen, I would probably be a little freaked out, but I'm getting off track. Today's sermon was also about hope.

I can honestly say that, up to this point, I have always been a fairly optimistic, faithful, and hopeful person, as far as religion and whatnot is concerned. I'll admit, though, that I've had my fair share of internal struggling, much like a tug-of-war, my logic and rationalization pulling me in one direction and my heart and lifelong training pulling me in the opposite direction.

But today, as I was standing in the midst of the church crowd, I looked around, watching as they all stood there singing and worshipping in an almost trance-like state, and I felt tears well up behind my eyes because I felt envious of them. They believe that Jesus Christ is coming back for them. They believe that when they die, they will go to this perfect place called Heaven, with its gates and streets of gold, where they will live forever with no more crying and no more pain, and where they will be eternally reunited with their loved ones. They have hope.

As the pastor was nearing the end of his sermon, he asked the crowd to bow our heads and close our eyes to pray. It was the typical ending prayer, asking for forgiveness and asking Christ to come into our hearts if we had not already. After praying, he asked us to continue to keep our eyes closed and just let the Holy Spirit wash over us and just to feel His presence. I used to be able to feel the Holy Spirit washing over me in the form of intense emotion and goose bumps, depending on how charismatic the pastor was, but today I felt nothing, and I was envious of those who did feel something.

It was today that I realized and admitted openly and freely to myself that I have no hope. My hopes and dreams have been shattered. There is no God. There is no Christ. And if there is, they have long since forsaken me. They no longer hear my cries. They no longer see my tears. They no longer feel my pain. I am alone, not lonely....alone. God does not live here anymore.

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