It’s that time of the year again.
Stores are full of colorful sweets, families have great fun dressing up, wondrous stories are told. . .
Sorry, I mean, Happy Easter. . .and Passover. . .and Buddha’s Birthday!
We might re-name “Holy Week” as “Halloweek.”
When I was a Christian Minister, serving as a Parish Associate in a large and wealthy Protestant church, I assisted in leadership of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services. I even led a number of Passover\Easterish gatherings, one with a Rabbi friend.
This year, as I reflect on religious responsibilities, past and. . .more past, I wonder:
How would I tell these stories now, with a more Secular Eye?
The following is one approach in the form of a “visit” from a Very Large Deity.
(This is the Christian version of the visitation vision. The God of Passover Past arrives later–I think He got stuck in traffic)
The God of Easter Past appears:
“I Am Your Loving Father. Hear My Voice! I love you! I made the world for you (in fact, I made the Universe for you!).
I hope you appreciate that.
The best way for you to show your appreciation is to Believe in Me. I really need you to do that.
Let me clarify that right now. I don’t mean just Believe. I mean Believe Right—Correctly. In ME, not some other made up God. I’m the One and Only God. Just think you should know that.
And, by the way, don’t just Believe. . .Do what I SAY! And everything I’ve said is in this One Little Book. Here, read it and DO what it says (what I said a long, long time ago).
Let me just tell you what it says. We’ll make it simple: Believe. Yes, love and do good things. But those won’t matter unless you Believe! Hear Me!?
Those who don’t Believe in Me. . .sorry. . .give me a moment. . .it’s just so painful. . .
You see, I sacrificed whole nations, whole tribes and communities to show you how much I love you and want you to believe. More than that. . .excuse me. . .(wipes His eyes and blows His great nose), I had to do something really awful:
I had my only Son murdered for you! Yes, for YOU!
I hope you appreciate that.
You see, I really LOVE you so very, very much.
I’m so serious about this that I gave up my Son. My Son!
I hated, truly hated to do that, but it was My Plan and I had to stay with the Plan. (It sounded like a good plan when I planned it; it really did).
And, I’m so really, really serious about this that I took a LONG time (I believe it was about 1000 years) building a terrible place. . .sorry, give me a moment. . .a place of torture where people will suffer, not just for a day, but forever. . .
No, really, For Eternity!
PLEASE don’t make me send you there! It would make me terribly sad to have to take you down there (shudders).
I’m your Loving Father, your Parent, and like any loving parent, I don’t want to have to torture my children!! Especially in a terrible, hot, smoky place of misery and long-suffering death that never ends!
Please don’t make Me do that to you!
I should tell you though, to be honest, the dark chamber does has a nice view across a Lake. But, you need to know, it’s a Lake of FIRE. I thought that was a nice touch (a little like Alcatraz prison with views of San Francisco Bay).
So, listen! My Son died a horrible, bloody death. He died. . .but not really. You see, he walked out of the cold, dark tomb a few days later—defeating Death forever! Isn’t that Wonderful!. . .well, you’ll still die, there’s still death, but just Believe it because. . .don’t forget that torture room in the basement!
Now, as I said, I’m your Loving Father, and My Son (Your Lord) rose up from the dead and went straight back up here to sit with Me. So I don’t have to feel guilty about having him tortured and killed. He’s really a very nice boy to obey Me, even when he was being nailed to a tree. That was real blood you know. I’m proud of Him!
I will be proud of YOU too. Choose to Believe in Me and you can come to My beautiful Home in the Sky, where you will say prayers and sing praises to ME in one Great Church Service that lasts FOREVER! And Christians–True Believers–ONLY! Doesn’t that sound Heavenly?
Oh, HA!, I made a joke! I call my Home “Heaven.” Has a nice ring, don’t you think.
Ah, and what a VIEW! You can see Forever from Up There!
Now, wouldn’t you want to come to My Happy Heavenly Home, My Sunny Sacred Sky Sanctuary rather than the Dark Depressing Deathly Dungeon I made down there?
Of course, you are FREE to choose. Oh, of course. Take your time. Take a minute and think about it. Dungeon or Church. . .? Hard decision? (smiles)
Don’t worry. My home is well-insulated so you don’t have to feel the Heat from below, or hear the Screams of the children I LOVE but who just don’t BELIEVE in ME the way they’re supposed to! Sorry. . .(blows His nose again), that just HURTS so much and I Love them so much!
You see, this story is All About LOVE!
Now, won’t you please, please BELIEVE!?”
(Looks away and wipes His eyes. . .”gawd, I love these kids So Much!”)