The internet can ruin anything. It’s true.
You probably know better than to Google your symptoms when you feel sick, but that’s just the beginning.
Never ask Google when the world will end, what diet soda will do to your health, or what “defects” the FDA permits in our food. Trust me, you don’t want to know. You may think it’s safe to Google someone as sweet and earnest as, say, Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries, but don’t do it. It turns out there are still a lot of people who sincerely believe God does not bestow the gifts of preaching and teaching on women. For some reason, they don’t feel compelled to employ grace, mercy or kindness when addressing the issue.
All of that is bad enough, but this week the internet tried to ruin Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Easter for me.
I was looking at some of my favorite video sources like Chuck Knows Church and Busted Halo. My normal tactics for avoiding the comments failed me and I found myself immersed in what strangers were saying.
Several strangers who represented themselves as Christians rejected Easter, calling it a pagan holiday.
Christians who reject Easter.
Let that sink in for a second.
There would be no Christianity but for Easter! (1 Corinthians 15:14)
I understand the historical connection between Easter and pagan celebrations of the Spring Equinox. I know the word “Easter” probably dates back to the pagan goddess of the spring, Eastre (or Eostre). That same goddess was symbolized by a rabbit and maybe that’s why we have the Easter bunny. It’s as good an explanation as any other.
While some people find reasons to reject Easter and other celebrations, I am overwhelmed with reasons to embrace them.
During Lent, the story of the crucifixion always becomes especially real to me. It’s a difficult, unpleasant story. I’ve tried to separate myself from various atonement theories that make me feel responsible for that gory mess. I don’t like to think about anyone hanging on a cross, dying an agonizingly slow and painful death. I especially don’t like to think of it being done so I can be in relationship with God.
But really that’s my pride talking, isn’t it? Those thoughts reflect the truth — I wish I didn’t need Easter. Lent is a time for me to reject that kind of pride-filled thinking. Lent is a time to grab my ego by her collar and shake her a bit.
On Ash Wednesday, I remember that I am dust and I will return to dust. I am only human. I am not God.
I usually give something up during Lent. I know this doesn’t earn me a love “bonus” with God and I don’t think you’ll get a love “demerit” if you don’t give up anything. I participate in this practice because it’s one way to let go of my pride and stubborn self-sufficiency.
Last year I gave up wearing earrings. Silly, right? I wish it were. Sadly, I found I felt “less-than” without them. In other words, somehow earrings made me feel more whole. That’s silly!
You may not feel this way about earrings, but maybe there is something else in your daily routine you should let go of. Maybe pride shows itself in the way you criticize others or hog the road. Maybe you could be more humble and patient at the grocery store or (gasp!) at church. Maybe you’re prone to making crazy statements on the internet rejecting Christian celebrations like Easter. If so, maybe you could give that up for Lent.