(I realize that Easter is far off, but, I thought it appropriate to post this now. I wrote it for some local newpapers.)
Come into the Light
An Easter Invitation
Last Christmas a friend, who is an artist, gave me an oil painting called "Grandmas Cellar". Of course the photo seen here cannot adequately portray its beauty. Nevertheless you can easily see the contrast between the dark cellar entrance and the bright light shining on the door and the surrounding area. The door, securely propped open, is like an invitation to come out from the dark, and step into the sunlight where you can see life and beauty everywhere flowers, vines, and bushes.
Some old cellars are not much more than memories of the distant past. Old relics lie covered with cobwebs and dust, untouched for years. Musty canning jars line the shelf, sitting just where Grandma left them. Nothing much changes in those old cellars. The windows get covered with layers of dirt; very little light seeps in. The old cellar is a dark, dingy place.
In some ways this picture illustrates our human plight. Many have been dwelling in that dark cellar for generations - still clinging to old, useless ways of thinking and of doing. It might be our unhealthy life-style habits. It might be our patterns of greed, fear, criticism, or self-centeredness. It might be tired old religious traditions. One of the old relics may be the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth philosophy. Weve all seen this one practiced - from the playground to the battlefield. It demands that you to hurt people to the same degree that they have hurt you. We all know how dark and useless revenge is, and how it leaves people in the cellar of despair and bitterness. Im sure that you can think of many other long-held habits and philosophies that do us no good.
And yet there is an open door inviting us to something far better - into wide-open spaces of bright light and abundant life. However, it is a risky way, a revolutionary way; it will always run counterculture. It is a way of respect for ourselves, for fellow humankind, and for our Creator. It is a way of forgiveness.
A few years ago our community choir sang a song called Walk in the Light, Beautiful Light. This invitation has its origins in an ancient Biblical saying: Arise, shine for the light has come. Isaiah 60:1
It just so happens that as long as we decline this invitation, it will be nothing more than a dusty old manuscript lying around in our cellars.
The season of Easter embraces both pagan and Christian roots. It carries with it elements of darkness as well as light. It is up to us what parts of it we choose. I suggest that one of the best ways we can celebrate the tradition is by taking the risk and accepting the beckoning call: Come up out of that cellar and walk through the open door. Step into the light. Do you dare?