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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter as an Escape Hatch

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! (Barry Goldwater, Acceptance Speech as the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate.)

In a more modest time, a reticent single woman might meet a man's urgings for heated sexual intercourse (then called “an illicit affair”) with the rebuke “No way, I don't want to feel dirty in the morning.” The “morning after” a heated controversy I often feel this way. During a verbal battle, I often violate each and every quality attributed to the fruit of the Spirit—the heat of competition drives out love replacing it with the relentless urge to dominate and vanquish; I abandon joy for intensity and russet anger, I come to lust for combat and elbow aside peace; I dismiss forbearance and kindness as attributes of weaklings; I toss to the four winds any desire for goodness, lop off faithfulness with alacrity, and deplore gentleness viewing self-control as a vice.

The morning after I feel in great need of redemption. Easter holds out the hope of fresh starts, restorative forgiveness, and the rebirth of a renewed sweet spirit. It enables healing and wide expanses of joyful abundance. Some might say that Easter has pagan beginnings and was originally a rite of spring. For me Christ's resurrection could occur in the dead of winter—it wouldn't matter so long as I remember at least once a year that heavenly grace can overcome negativity's spirals towards depression and death.

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