Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Crocus Effect

My parents were generic Protestants -- they embraced a polite, unobtrusive white-people Protestantism, neither as high as Episcopalianism nor as lowdown and interesting as Pentecostalism.  No eating the Body of Jesus, no speaking in tongues. Everybody should come together on Sunday morning dressed up nice, say hi to each other, and go home to pull on a T-shirt.

And they were sufficiently relaxed about it that I was allowed to rebel against Sunday School.  After attending for several years and finding myself profoundly unconvinced, I put my ten-year-old foot down.  Life was too short to be bored to death every Sunday, even in the interest of life everlasting.  When I went on strike, my practical father cut a deal: skip Sunday school and mow the lawn.  I leapt at it.

So I lack a literal belief in the events Easter celebrates.  But I've always found it to be a useful holiday, and resurrection a valuable metaphor.

I'm sure each of us from time to time wishes he or she could be reborn into a better life, or even into the life we already have, but before we and the world screwed it up.

Well, that's what Easter is for, as far as I'm concerned.

On the night before -- Easter Eve, I guess it is -- my wife and I will talk about how we'd like our lives to be different.  Not lists of resolutions, a la New Year, but inward differences -- differences in how we deal with and direct our lives.  We'll get it down to two or three each and go to bed.  And on Easter morning we'll arise resurrected and spend the first hour or two of the day in silence so we don't dilute our new selves with talking.

I'm a believer in the cumulative power of little miracles.  Wake up every morning and do something useful.  Give things away.  Decide not to get angry for three whole days, even at politicians.  (Okay, that's a big miracle.)  Put one word after the next, even if you're not sure it's the right word.  I believe we can lay down good in our lives one layer at a time, like lacquer.

And so it is, for me, with resurrection.  Resurrect myself often enough and I'll eventually be someone better.  Allow the annual cycle of renewal to apply to my life and spirit.

And so what if Easter was slapped on the Mithraic solstice festivals just as the Christian Sabbath was slapped on the Mithraic Sunday rather than the Jewish Saturday, and Christmas was slapped on December 25, the birthday of Mithras?  Both religions celebrate (or celebrated) the miracle of renewal, which can be both internal and external.

And god (or God) knows that renewal is a miracle.  No one who's ever seen a crocus blooming in the snow would deny it.

-- Tim, Sundays


  1. Tim,

    May your life, especially this Thursday, be filled with miracles well-deserved.


  2. I can't imagine any ten year-old being offered the option of attending church and Sunday school or mowing a lawn and not opting for manual labor.

    Resurrection and rebirth don't have to wait until Easter comes around each year. Rebirth can happen at any moment of any day as long as each person is willing to do what is necessary to be reborn.

    I complain about what passes for a New England spring. Through yesterday, it had rained here ten of the last eleven days. No leaves, just some buds on the trees. Then today, the temperature went up to 70F for a few hours this morning. The trees on the south facing side of the street are starting to show leaves. After the damage done to the trees this winter, green trees is a slightly bigger miracle than usual. Rebirth showing on a perfect day.

    So, on Easter, God bless all whether open to that miracle or not.


  3. Very beautiful. Someone said that we have the chance to recreate ourselves every day. There is a chance for miracles.