ByTim Sumner, The River
We are in the midst of two seasons. One of them I embrace, the other I dread.
Easter Sunday is a day that Christians look forward to. It is the highlight of the week (and for the year) for those who have spent this week contemplating the last few days of Jesus life on earth. The week began with his disciples excited that Jesus was now going to Jerusalem, thinking that this was the next step in his setting up his kingdom. The crowds were pumped – giving him the red carpet treatment by spreading their coats on the road as he rode on the donkey.
Then the week went downhill from there. The excitement of the beginning of the week had turned to discouragement as they saw Jesus get arrested, go through beatings, being treated as a criminal and then dying on a cross. For them, the end was in sight. All of their hopes and expectations were smashed to pieces.
Then Sunday came. The gloom and despair of the morning turned into hope and anticipation as the news began to trickle in that Jesus wasn’t dead. He began to show himself to more and more people showing that the power of the resurrection was something that was real and needed to be reckoned with. This hope and anticipation remains today for those who will respond to the work that Jesus did on the cross.
This brings me to the second season which is much less pleasurable. The political season is upon us and if we rely on the behavior of people, it is hard to anticipate any amount of good coming out of it. People have and will continue to tear each other up with their words. Candidates vying for the Republican nomination are ripping each other apart. Candidates for President of the United States will take their opponents words out of context and distort each other’s positions. Much money will be spent on commercials which make the other appear in the worst possible way.
My mother told me once (OK more than once) that if I couldn’t say something nice about someone that I shouldn’t say anything at all. While I have not been totally successful in following this advice, it follows what Jesus said in that we are to treat others the way we would like others to treat us. He also indicated in the prayer taught to the disciples that we should ask God to forgive us in the same manner that we are forgiving of others. If we get treated the same way that we treat others, would we like it?
The problems revealed with the political season is not just on a national level, not just on a state level, but is also on a local level which leads to our own back-yard. Attitudes that cause division through the throwing of mud at each other is also revealed in the opinions expressed in letters to the editor of this paper. When will it stop? When will we begin to work together to accomplish a greater good than occurs when any one group has to have it all their own way?
Unity will happen when we experience a catastrophe large enough to get us to look beyond our own selfishness. It happens when it is forced upon us as was the case during World War II. But do we really want to wait for that? Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous states that there is a power greater than myself that can restore us to sanity. Step 3 encourages us to make a decision to turn our lives over to this Power. This brings me back to the joyful season of Easter.
The Resurrection of Jesus celebrated at Easter is the proof that this power greater than myself will restore sanity for those who will allow it to do so. Isaiah 40:31 states: but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Let’s focus more on the resurrection which brings peace and fulfillment and focus less and less on that which divides us.