Sunday, 12 April 2009

Nicole pondered a few days ago how strange it is that we focus way more on the death of Christ than his resurrection. I agree. I think his death is something full of mystery and redemption and awesomeness that feeds life through death into our lives. But that is not the end of the story but only the beginning.

I was at my cousin's place last night and The Passion of the Christ was on the TV. I saw it at the movies when it came out, and I have no desire to see it again. It feels, in some way I find difficult to express, almost glorifying violence by its extreme focus on every second of His passion.

And yet the Bible doesn't do that. Doesn't go into graphic account of every gory detail for my flagellatory hairshirting pleasure. I once felt extreme guilt about the cross every time I thought about it. Now I don't. Which is partly the point of the whole thing. I am who I am, a fallible, messed-up piece of humous. I accept and embrace my humanness. It is unbelievably healing. I am done feeling guilty for not being a million carat diamond.

I wonder about how we go on and on and on about his death, and the TV reports turgid droning services in massive beautiful buildings. And yet they don't report today. What can they say about it? They can report the historics of the Christian religion. But today. Today runs off the end of the spreadsheet. You can report on the death of a historic figure. How do you report their resurrection with a straight face?

One is easy to believe in. A matter of historics. And a place to sit in self-condemnation, where we are comfortable. God knows, we deserve the condemnation, right? But what do we do with the other? The other is supernatural and we have nothing left to sacrifice, no virgins in volcanoes, only our own darknesses. One kicks the end of our lives out, and floods hope in like water flooding into a bath. One is easy to believe in because we can continue telling ourselves we are stinking piles of shit and that proves it. But this? This resurrection from the dead? Fairytales. Stories for children.

I like stories for children. I like the simplicity and the colour. I unabashedly believe in a happily ever after ending. I believe that eye has not seen nor ear heard what is to come for the human race in the future. I believe that while we all age and die that that is not the end of the story. I believe that life is a dress rehearsal. I believe that trying to find our joy in money is evidence of festered imaginations but I believe God is a lover of delighting his children with good things that have no monetary value whatsoever. I believe a life in God has space enough to breathe, and to wonder in the colour and the taste and the texture and the sound. I believe all of that. I believe the story doesn't end with the Bible but continues on into a future we get to walk in and embody. I believe we are unbelievably, impossibly loved by a God who will stop at nothing to make that reality real in the dark hearts of his kids.

I believe that this whole bag kicks the end out of everything. It kicks doctrines and theology, as helpful as it is to sort out in your own mind to know what you believe - but it kicks that stuff in the arse the way jumping out of a plane or making love kicks prestige and power and riches and hand-cobbled security in the arse.

It kicks the ends out of everything.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense.



  1. Oh hon, this is gorgeous! I love how you convey these important things. I so want this season to be meaningful to me, but there has been so much put upon me about the evil...the crucifixion and death...I love the beauty of the new life!

    Hope you have had a wonderful Easter!

    (PS I put up my post before I saw this...I didn't mean to steal your title!)

  2. i never watched that movie
    at the time i was working in a christian publishing house and my colleagues gave me a hard time for choosing not to go

    i am a sensitive soul
    i don't watch anything violent on tv, i hate any violence in movies
    and i didn't need to see the passion to understand the story

    if we can take the stories as a child, it will affect our heart in subtler softer life-changing ways - rather than sensationalised glorified short-term ways

  3. Ditto what Erin said....I love your writing style, its very powerful and real. I'm glad I stopped here for my Easter morning reading :)

  4. I never watched The Passion, either.

  5. Thanks everybody. Like many Easters recently, it gets to Monday and I feel relief because there's always that element of performance that goes with the whole Easter thing, the "I should be dancing a jig" sort of crap that gets handed down to us. It's strange, but every year I look forward to the communal aspects sharing this ride together, and then afterwards I'm always glad it's over. It's very strange.

  6. Wonderful post, Sue. Amen. Amen. Amen. Easter is a quiet, standing out in the sunlight, shaking your hair loose and grinning ear to ear because we are loved beyond reason.
    I never wanted to see the movie the Passion. All gore and none of the glory.

  7. happy easter, sue. i love how you ended the post with rumi. absolutely fabulous...i'm with barbara. still haven't seen the film


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