By Cynthia Allen
Not only was I raised on a Missouri farm, I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church. Though our church did not celebrate typical religious holidays, my family did, and Easter was, and still is one of my favorites. I love the old-time Easter hymns such as Up From the Grave He Arose! Occasionally a client may spontaneously start to sing one of these songs, and I get to surprise them by joining in.
In my early adult life, my first husband was a singer/musician. He had a beautiful voice and he introduced me to some contemporary Christian rock songs that became Easter classics for me. I share those here with you, below. If you weren’t raised Christian, these songs may seem bizarre, as perhaps the Easter story does, too.
It is quite difficult to put oneself inside a completely different religious system and really get the gist of it. I have done fairly well enjoying my forays into Judaism and Native American (both South and North) cosmologies but when I try to follow, for example, the myths of the Hindu or Buddhist religions, I admit I get lost in trying to make sense out of what no doubt has a stirring resonance for those steeped in them. Even though the stories within other traditions may not touch me personally, I know they embody important principles for living. Each religion helps us make sense of our lives within the context of the unknowable divine. And while there are similarities, there are also differences.
So in what way does the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection help his followers? The jewels that Easter offers to the world from my view (as of today) are:
- God saw the endless animal sacrifices and rules his people used in an attempt to become whole (even though it was not necessary from God’s view.) Unworthiness or trying to solve unworthiness through killing seems to be a theme across cultures.
- God separated a part of himself to come to earth and be born as a child, to grow into a man and teacher and to sacrifice his life so that we might experience our worthiness and unconditional love.
- Even when man does something awful like betray, torture and kill Jesus Christ, there is still forgiveness. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” I don’t know about you, but I can get pretty miffed when someone does something stupid in traffic. Maybe this is a phrase I should try uttering a few thousand times a day.
- Jesus Christ suffered and wondered where his father was and why he was deserted. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” is one of the most powerful phrases of the Bible. I believe we will all have at least one moment in our lives of this kind of soul-wrenching abandonment. If it happened to Jesus Christ, why should it not happen to us? I have had such times, and while I hope not to have one again, I suspect that is wishful thinking.
- Christ rose. And we, too, are impossible to truly keep down. There is victory beyond death.
While today I believe there is wisdom in all religions, I offer these few from my own understanding of the Easter story. If they are valuable great and if not, throw them out. And here are three songs that my ex-husband used to sing and play on the piano. The first and the last are my favorites. What is your favorite Easter song? Share below in the comments. We can have a virtual sing along.