The lenten season for this year has finally ended, with the celebration of Easter last Sunday.
Lent is the season when words and teachings of Christ are presented in a thousand pulpits across the nation — self-righteously, mournfully, nasally coldly, feebly, flamboyantly, blandly and violently.
Ministers give the gospel its full beauty and power — and from it, thousands of people derive guidance and comfort, listening to it and validating a deep need for spiritual existence.
But can anyone imagine what it would be like to interact directly with the Lord, who knows all your thoughts and words, even before you speak?
Imagine asking Him questions like: “Lord, given the fact that you have bestowed life that dies, why did you give us death?
Of the virgin birth and the betrayal of your friend, Judas Iscariot, and about Good Friday — why should the day, when men denied God, be called Good?
Why did you give Adam and Eve free will, but banished them for their sin of disobedience, which they were predestined to do?
If Christ, who was both “man and “God” had to experience man’s refusal of the spirit, why is man unperturbed by what He did?
I struggle to understand that we do not really know what we mean by “God” or “man” and the drain of its contradiction.
But, If I were asked about the rationale of my faith, I’d say: First, I believe in a grand universal order and meaning, and in a power that is both greater than us and within us.
I believe in a God whom I could worship formally wherever I am; in a God that answers prayers, that guides and chides (oh yes!). When you really come down to it, He is a benevolent and all-seeing Being, but recognizably in man’s image.
And more than that, I believe in a God invoked by public character, as an ally in rightouesness.
I believe in the great many things that equally, a formal worshipper of God professes to believe.
However, these are not abstractions for me, but the highest of purpose with which we all exist: to believe with passion in justice, kindness, decency, humility, courage and honor.
Aren’t the magnificence of the universe, the wonders of man and life itself like some cosmic pattern?
I see it revealed equally in a raindrop, in a gentle caressing breeze, in the shape of a leaf, in the palpitating body of a tiny bird, in the swell of a cumulus cloud — even in my arthritic hobble.
What about the chorales of Johann Sebastian Bach? What words delivered from the pulpit can I not find in a Shakespeare sonnet, or in the lines of the great philosophers:Plato, Rene Descartes and the metaphysical poet John Donne?
What do church rituals give that a great ballet or opera cannot?
All these are creative acts from timeless artists, which lift, mystify and enlarge man. These artists celebrate beauty, unlock mysteries, serve scalpel truth and never make war, because they supplement compassion and make pettiness go away.
My faith is my redemption. My life is the magical element that sustains and molds and make me whole — the element that sustains, as I surrender myself to it.
It lifts, pummels, threatens and caresses (like a lugubrious lullaby) and makes me whole, in a mystery that has the stillness of truth — even if the truth is yet to come.