The ‘J’ Word at Easter
An article for the April 2,000 Deep Cove Crier
Easter eggs, Easter baskets, Easter bonnets, Easter bunnies, Easter lilies!!! Just as angels and reindeer stand for Christmas, so too eggs and lilies symbolize Easter. For many of our families, neither Christmas nor Easter would be complete without a traditional family dinner. Easter is a time of reconnecting and celebrating, a time of healing and new life. Most everyone seems to love Easter. Even the late Charles Schultz, inventor of ‘Peanuts’, got into the Easter mood with his well-loved movie "It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown!".
As I visit the local Safeway store, I have been noticing a ‘mountain’ of Easter bunnies and Easter chocolates. Everyone loves to celebrate. Everyone wants something to look forward to. As I visit our neighbourhood Library and look at the countless Easter children’s book, I am reminded how much fun that people of all ages have at Easter. Sometimes Easter feels like a fun party in which we have forgotten to invite Easter’s most special guest.
We live in an increasingly private, individualistic culture when even Easter and Christmas become privatized and stripped of their fuller meanings. As Canadians, we are often so afraid of offending others that most spirituality is shoved into the closet. For many of us nowadays, the only time that we hear the ‘J’ word even at Easter is when someone has stubbed their toe or lost their temper. It reminds me of the bumper-sticker, which says: ‘God’s last name isn’t Dammit’.
Have you noticed how the ‘J’ word is often taboo in public unless we are using it as a swear word? I remember as a teenager how I would use the ‘J’ word in anger without even being aware of doing it. It was only years later after discovering the true meaning of Easter that I even noticed that I had been using Jesus’ name.
I have noticed that most swearing seems devoted to two main topics: spirituality and sexuality. Both spirituality and sexuality are very potent wells of emotion and unmet expectations. I have also noticed that I rarely, if ever, hear joyful swearing. Rather it usually is connected with anger and frustration about one’s co-workers, government, or family. Sexual and spiritual swearing virtually always seems to express direct or indirect anger towards one’s sexuality or spirituality. The most potent forms of pornography seem to draw on these three sources of sexuality, spirituality, and violence. The worst of the current video games aimed at our teens draw heavily on each of these three sources. Perhaps a beginning step in breaking an addiction to pornography or video game mayhem is to ask ourselves just whom we are really angry at.
When I learned how to deal with my anger, I discovered the power of the ‘J’ word not as a curse word, but rather as a word of blessing. I found out that there really was power in the name of Jesus, the name above all names. I learned that Jesus really did die on Good Friday to forgive me, and rise on Easter Sunday to give me new life.
This Easter, I invite you to discover for yourself what really makes Easter tick, to discover for yourself Jesus Christ as more than a swear word, as more than an outdated story, as more than a hobby for religious people. My prayer is that the ‘J’ word may become life-giving to you in this Easter season of Resurrection life.
p.s. Here are some other Easter links for the Easter enthusiast:
Easter Eggs and Easter Stories
Amazing Grace At Easter
Rediscovering Handel’s Messiah at Easter
Who Stole the Easter Corpse??
Sir George Williams & the YMCA
Curse God and Die
The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church
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St. Simon's Anglican Church
North Vancouver, B.C.