Today is Easter, as we are all aware, whether a religious follower or not. I tend to not be super-religious or an avid church-goer. Today was the first time I was in church this year, with the exception of picking up a friend’s kid who is in preschool there. Though I do not really ascribe to any specific religious dogma, and rather consider myself a spiritual person, I did find myself feeling somewhat refreshed upon leaving the service this morning. However, during the service, during the recitation of prayers, I looked around at the congregation, and began to wonder how many of us were just going through the motions, and how many were just repeating the words we learned and memorized at a young age? In a way, I include myself in that unknown number of people, because I say the words from rote memory, but I no longer really contemplate the meaning of the words that I am giving voice to.
The sermon today was entitled “Sleeping Through the Resurrection,” which I believe was aptly named not only for the fact that it is Easter, but more for the way so many of us sleep through it all with regards to religion. I still am not a believer in organized religion, per say, but I understand its draw for many. But then there is a huge number of people, I think, who gain membership at a church and go through the motion each Sunday, but do so because of tradition than due to any deep-seated belief. I think it can be seen in the fact that fewer young people than before are joining church congregations, but at the same time, I would surmise there are more people (probably the younger generations) who don’t know exactly what they believe. I may fall into that category, but I have my set of beliefs. They may overlap with beliefs of “organized” religion, be it Christianity or Buddhism, or perhaps a mix of both. I believe that somewhere, there is some being bigger than all of us. Bigger than all of this. But I do not know its name, or if it has one. And I refuse to give it one.Overwhelmingly though, I believe in the goodness of people at the core of their being.
I think the reason I felt refreshed today when I left church has less to do with the prayers and songs, as much as it gave me an hour for reflection. I inevitably end up thinking about my grandparents, who have been gone for years, but whom I have never stopped missing. It makes me sad, but then I think about all the holidays, Easter included, that were spent in their presence. Perhaps it creates a little nostalgia and living in the past, but it happens every time I sit through a church service. I think about those that have gone before and those who may be presently ill. And so my quiet thoughts go out to those people, both alive and not, for peace where ever they are.
The talks about peace and love can be lost on the masses, but just those two words voiced over and over sort of renewed my faith in humanity. I want to work with the under-served and the poor, and those two words ground me a little from tendency we all have to get caught up in the every day hustle and bustle. Everyone has their own crosses and burdens to bear, but Easter reminds me somehow that we all can be – and need to be – just a little bit more tolerant, and kind, and patient, and loving to our family, friends, and fellow man.