My friend, Tom Butts, who is the Pastor Emeritus at FUMC, Monroeville AL once sent me the following article. I think so much of him that I want to share with you, my church family, of whom I think a lot of as well:
Religion developed around those areas and aspects of life we do not understand, not around aspects we do understand, or think we understand. When our world is manageable we may tip our hats toward some sort of higher power in a conventional fashion. Some people do not feel they need anything religious to help negotiate life when they are doing all right on their own. But, when life breaks open at the seams and we are standing before some mystery that is larger than life and beyond comprehension, we begin to look at and think of life in a different way.
It is no accident that when we are looking for spiritual insight and power, we walk up a hill outside Jerusalem and stand as close as we dare to the tragic scene of a crucifixion, where a gaunt figure hangs between heaven and earth and between life and death, and we hang on to every word we hear. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" – "This day thou shalt be with me in paradise" – "Father, into your hands I place my spirit." What tragedy! What mystery! But, we are drawn to it like a magnet.
When our souls are empty and our hearts ache and we do not understand life, we walk on out to a graveyard, to a tomb, that is open and empty. In the presence of that tremendous mystery, which nobody can begin to explain, where by some divine alchemy, death and tragedy get transformed into light and life, we find hope, encouragement, and the will to go on.
Every now and then, just when we think we cannot go on, something strange, sometimes simple, happens and we get a quick glimpse into the heart of God’s eternal mysteries. A stranger says or does something and then disappears forever. A tragedy turns into a triumph; a miracle happens before our eyes; a child is born or dies or says or does something; and our eyes are opened, our hearts are melted with love and for a few seconds the mysteries of the universe are laid bare before our very eyes.
Sometimes Easter happens on a dark Tuesday afternoon in December, and for a moment we feel "in touch" with someone or something important with which we have been "out of touch" for a long time. Sometimes an angel touches your life in mid-summer and suddenly you see and understand things gloriously different. You stop being afraid of old ghosts that have haunted you ever since you can remember. You quit caring about all the wrong things and learn how to empty your life of junk. After all, Easter is a day of miracles for the dead, and all of us are or have been or will be dead. Whenever that happens we need an Easter happening.