I'm an Easter girl. And at last Easter is here.
I have no patience for Lent, very little for Holy Week. Easter is where it's at. After spending the last six weeks feeling like the whole worshiping church was having a Lent party to which I had not been invited, at which I was a total, gawky wallflower, I am rejoicing this afternoon, glad to have celebrated Easter at last.
Easter girl, Easter woman. What does this mean?
From Ash Wednesday onwards we are urged to repent, to turn from our sinful ways. But we turn in circles and all we see are those sinful ways. We get bogged down, sick with guilt and helpless. We try to reform, we give things up for Lent, or take on new spiritual disciplines, opportunities to fall short once again.
I don't need Lent to get me to beat up on myself. I am a middle-aged woman, a widow, a mother of teenagers who I try to influence but don't always understand. I feel responsible for all of it, not good enough for any of it. From the laundry table to the making of song, prose and poetry, I feel hapless, even hopeless. I won't deny my own culpability, but I am my own victim.
Easter good news came for me on Good Friday, reading Ross Douthat's blog in The Atlantic. He quoted Rene Girard, a French literature scholar, reviewing yet something else. Here's a key sentence: "Instead of blaming victimization on the victims, the Gospels blame it on the victimizers." A radical new thought from the Hebrew-Christian tradition.
I am guilty of many things, but I am also a forgiven child of God. Forgiven by virtue of Jesus's innocent suffering and death, and shown a new way of living in Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. Easter says that the only reason for spending energy figuring out what is and is not my fault is so that I can live freely and move forward into the future as a little Christ--a Christ who is risen indeed. The real turn-about as we move from Lent to Easter is God's work, not ours--God's new kingdom revealed on the cross and at the empty tomb and blessedly, in our own lives.