Love Springs Up
One of my best friends is a Texan. I love the way he says, ‘ohl’ and ‘fohl,’ which are spelled ‘oil’ and ‘foil.’ So, when you read this, I wish you could hear his voice, his Texas twang.
The Meaning of Easter
One day we got in a conversation about the meaning of Easter. I was using my 50-cent words to explain the atonement, how God reconciled humanity to himself through the cross and resurrection. After we talked for a bit, he said, “I see it this way. You can’t kill love. You sure can try, but it keeps springing up. Love always wins in the end. That’s what Easter means to me.”
Well, so much for my Princeton education and seven theories of atonement. In a few sentences, he summed up Easter ‘right good.’ The way I read the Bible, I see this timeless battle between love and fear, between self and community, between ‘us’ and ‘others,’ whoever they are. And since the beginning of time, the God-Who-Lives-in-Community-as-Three has said, “I made you all in love. Love one another, just as I have loved you.” Or in Texan, “Love’s gonna win.”
I write about this now because I have been deeply moved by the student uprising in our nation over the use of automatic weapons to kill children. We are not that far along in 2018 and there have already been 17 school shootings where someone has been hurt or killed.
All She Wants for Her Birthday
When I asked my daughter who lives in the Bay Area what she wanted for her 25th birthday, which fell on March 24, the same day as the “March for Our Lives” protests, she asked for one thing only. She asked me to join a protest somewhere near our home in Orange County.
I thought to myself, “This is the world we live in, the world that somehow, through my silence and passivity, I have made for my daughter. All she wants for her birthday is to live in peace.”
So I marched. Not alone, of course. There were thousands of others in Centennial Park in Santa Ana that day. As I stood and listened to the speeches from students and teachers who had lost family members to gun violence, I couldn’t hold back my tears. One teenage girl was holding a sign that said, “’I want my friends to stay alive’ is NOT a radical statement.”
But my tears weren’t only for the slain and those who grieved them. They were also, perhaps even more, for the thousands of students who gathered in our nation’s capital that day, and the millions of others around the world who chanted, “Never again” and “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
An Unstoppable Force
Don’t get me wrong. I’m realistic enough to know that there will be another school shooting soon where automatic weapons will be involved, and many children will die in a matter of a few minutes. I get it. It is easier to obtain weapons of mass destruction in our society than it is to obtain a driver’s license.
But I also ‘get’ an unstoppable force when I see one. For all the evil in the world, for all the greed that results in killing, and those of us who conspire with it by our fear and passivity, love continues to win.
No, my tears were not for the dead. They were for those with the courage to stand up to evil and death and say, “Enough is enough.” I believe that is what God did when he sent Jesus into the world. It got Jesus killed, but he rose from the dead, proving yet again that love wins, now and forever.
May this Easter season be a celebration of love surprising you in multiple ways as you continue to serve and enjoy the Author and Giver of life.
With you on the way,