Thursday, April 08, 2004

What happened to the Cadbury bunny commercials?

OK...it's time for me to give comment about Easter. First, I used to really look forward to seeing the Cadbury Bunny commercials every Easter. You know, the one where all the different animals are auditioning to become a clucking bunny? Either I have not been watching enough television (gasp!), or they are not showing them this year!

I have, however, enjoyed the Toys R Us commercial where Geoffrey the Giraffe is surrounded by hundreds of bunnies singing, "Here comes Peter Cottontail!"

Seriously though, it is easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Easter. Just like it's easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. A lot of the traditions of both holidays have nothing to do with Jesus Christ and everything to do with Pagan rituals that were incorporated to lure those wacky pagans into becoming Christians. In the last few years, I've been able to move beyond the Commerical Easter and more into the true "reason for the season" which has absolutely nothing to do with Bunnies, eggs, peeps or chocolate.

Those of you that know me, know that I was not raised with any religious background. What I know, I have sought on my own and it was not forced upon me as a child. I had very few preconceived notions about anything having to do with religion. However I knew without a doubt that I believed in God. It just made sense to me.

I did have a lot of questions. I didn't understand why some people thought they were going to heaven or to paradise, but they think that everyone else is just a misinformed fool that is either going to Hell or that both their body and their spirit will die when they pass away.

I didn't understand why people who had different colored skin had to worship in different buildings. It is said that the most segregated hour of the whole week is at 11am on Sunday. I remember as a child I would be watching TV on Sunday morning and come across a church service with a black congregation. I LOVED the way the choir sang. They were not all still and stiff with their little hymnals in front of them. They SANG. They moved their bodies to the music, they belted out their notes, they looked like they were having a good time. I wanted to be in THAT choir. However the color of my skin seemed to prevent me from being able to do that.

I didn't understand why some of the most judgmental people alive are the people that say they are God-fearin' churchgoers. If the Bible says, "Love your Neighbor as yourself," do they really hate themselves that much that they have to be so hateful to other people that do not think, dress, act, love, eat, dance, speak, etc. as they do? How sad!

Finally I walked into a church, at the age of 33, and realized that there are some people in the world that have similar thoughts that I do. They believe that we should live our lives as Jesus did. As I stepped through the doors of the sanctuary, my soul gave a huge sigh of relief and said, "I'm home!" It finally didn't matter what the color of my skin was and who I worshipped with. I was encouraged to move my body and belt out my songs in the choir. Everyone was very accepting of me and everyone else in the congregation. They embraced that there were others that thought, dressed, acted, loved, ate, danced and spoke differently from them. Wow! Thank you, God!

Now, back to Easter: Have you ever really thought about what happened? I mean REALLY thought about it? This man was born and he spent his entire existence teaching people that they needed to love one another and that God loves them. He faced ridicule, he faced betrayal, and ultimately, he faced a horrible death that no being should ever have to endure. Even in the end, he was full of love. As he hung on the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) In addition, Jesus comforted the others that were crucified on that day by promising that they would be in Paradise with Him.

Think about it. You've lived your whole life for what you believe. You are betrayed, you are beaten, stabbed, and thorns are put upon your head, you are made to carry your own cross to your own crucifixion, you are hoisted up on that cross and left there to die, however it is a slow and excruciatingly painful death - and still - you have love for those around you. The same people that divided the last of your meager worldly possessions amongst themselves, that spit on you and curse you - you still love these people.

Finally, death comes and the agony is over. "Father, I commit my spirit to you."

However that's just the beginning. Jesus was laid in a tomb to be readied for burial. No work can be done on the Sabbath, so Jesus was to lay there another day. When they came for him early on Sunday morning - he was gone! Just as was predicted, he had risen and gone to be with his Father - Our Father.

Pretty amazing stuff, huh? However, even if you are not a Christian, it's hard to deny the story of a man who's only purpose in life was to teach people to love one another. If this world were to follow that advice, we would be in much better shape than we are now. Looking at what's going on, it is sometimes easy to say, "What's the use?" However, I would like to suggest that, Christian or not, you try to live as Jesus of Nazareth lived. Love one another, do not judge one another, forgive one another.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!



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