but what does it mean?

Some of you already know of my struggle(s) with religion.

I believe in collective spiritual powers, I believe in searching for a meaning to life beyond meeting my and my family’s basic needs, I believe in the divinity in each of us, and that there is energy and joy and light beyond that which we can always understand. I believe that ritual and ceremony and community help us to remember that we are humble and human and part of whole which is bigger than the sum of each of us.

But I don’t believe in a Divine Creator, and if there is one, and he, that is, He, wanted “permission” to forgive us for our humanity, I can’t figure out how or why he needed someone to die to make it happen. I don’t believe in “one, true God” or that any one religion has the right answer and everyone else is either misguided or doomed.

I was just downstairs folding my laundry, and pondering the nature of the Christian religion — which I, as a music director in a Christian church, “partake” and “participate” in. This is one of the existential things I struggle with daily — the people at this church are good people doing good things in the community, which is really what I think of as religion at its best. But does my music help bring meaning and expression to their lives, or does it contribute to perpetuating a myth in which I don’t believe and which has on more than one occasion done more harm than good?

So, I was downstairs folding my laundry, and thinking about what this

oldruggedcrossmeans to people, and why it’s “necessary,” and wishing I could find a metaphor which would balance the barbarous and unnecessary act which it commemorates with something other than “He lives!”

And I came up and checked my email. One of my sisters had sent a copy of some writings for Easter week by the priest who had officiated at my father’s funeral in February. It reminded me, a little eerily, in fact, of what I had just written about it never being the end, about light being just around the corner.

He is writing about each of what is called “the Three Days.”  Specifically here, about what Saturday means as the day between Good Friday and Easter. I’m paraphrasing, because I think hope, and healing, and finding a new direction in life can happen without being bestowed upon us by God but through our own ingenuity, creativity, and strength.

We’re in a terrible position, but we have a promise that we only half believe. It’s after the doctor tells us we have cancer, but before we’re cured or find a new courage to cope with it. It’s after the marriage breaks up, but before the grief is healed. It’s after we’ve been laid off, but before we have found a new use for our gifts. Most of life is Saturday. No matter how bleak and dark Saturday gets, Sunday is coming, and it may be coming sooner than you think.

So it’s this, then: hope.

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14 thoughts on “but what does it mean?

  1. I think it’s good you struggle with it. Those that accept it without question are the ones I worry about/for.
    Faith is a good thing. Religion… well that’s another word for power over people. Telling them HOW to have faith. It’s as ridiculous as telling someone how to love someone. It’s an intensely personal experience.
    Of course… without formal religion, and Christianity in particular, we wouldn’t have Cadbury’s cream eggs, so it can’t all be bad…

  2. Yes, hope. Maybe that’s what’s behind all the ‘He is risen’ Easter posts on FB today. We’ve had our Saturday of uncertainty and come through the other side. Finally, a metaphor I can get behind!

  3. I don’t know about philosophy or theology, but I agree that “hope” is the key issue in keeping us going. It’s not what I’ve got now, but the possibility of something good around the corner.

    However, what I find is that it’s not my own creativity or strength that gets me that good thing. The most powerful feelings come from when someone accepts and loves me despite my weakness. Of course, not every person offers this and no one I’ve met offers it all the time, but the possibility of the experience is there.

    This might apply to me, but I’m not extrapolating to the rest of the world. Maybe the more creative people such as you, Sheriji, are indeed able to create their own hope and healing.

    • Oh, no. I’m all about external validation; nothing like the pat on the head, or someone telling me that I’m “ok” to keep me going. Part of what I’m working on here.

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