New wine must go in new bottles

Easter has always been my favorite holiday.  I like Peeps.  I’ll own that.  I like Cadbury Creme Eggs—the ones with all the goo in the middle.  I’ll own that too.  My taste in Easter candy echos my taste in breakfast cereal—largely unchanged since age 5.  I like ham and potatoes.  I like the simplicity of the holiday.  It’s not overly commercialized—just good candy and ham and a nice religious significance.  Actually one of the nicest, right?—Christ rose from the dead.  It’s a season of hope, nestled in springtime when the northern hemisphere is waking from winter’s sleep.  

I’ve been thinking about Christ and Easter this year, wondering how the holiday is going to feel. I don’t feel the same way about Christ as I used to. I’m not sure what caused this change but it’s undeniable. It’s interesting because I feel a connection quite readily with God. As I’ve spoken with people I trust about it, even people who have sifted through their own doubts, I have found that this issue is not common. As one person quipped, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother!” People have been kind, so kind, but unsure of what to say about this. I’m confused by it too.

My initial confusion comes because I actually like what Christ taught.  I believe his life exemplified the things I’m working for—charity, humility, trust in God, living with abundance, and embracing love in the presence of fear. I think about the stories of his life in a completely different context now.  I find them much more informative and relevant to my life today.

I have begun to really know what it means to turn the other cheek, and then to give my coat and my cloak.  I feel the compassion he showed to the woman taken in adultery.  His parable about the mote and beam rings so true to me, maybe because I am starting to look at the beam in my own eye.  It’s quite possible I am living a more Christian life than ever before!

So why don’t I feel a connection to Christ?  Why don’t I feel a conviction about his indispensable role in my salvation?  I used to feel this.  I’ve had experiences, one in particular, where I felt the the unburdening power of the atonement—and I am not denying that experience today. 

I will answer my own question so you don’t have to (and really this is something I fully believe God will answer for me in time, so you’re off the hook anyway).  One of the issues is that really, in the deepest parts of myself, I believe there are multiple paths to God. Multiple roads to salvation.  Above aIl, I believe God loves his/her children and he/she values our diversity because he/she created us to be so distinct. So I guess I believe that Christ is one of those ways.  And maybe he is THE way.  Maybe that’s where all of the great spiritual teachers throughout time will end up pointing us, but I’m not sure.

I believe God loves us all enough to make it work.  I believe there is something after this that is glorious and provides me with an opportunity to continue to become.  I don’t think heaven is a day spa where I will go to relax and exfoliate.  I’m still Mormon enough to admit that!   

What I keep doing in the midst of this confusion is repeating my mantra:  Stay open. I keep thinking that something will stir that feeling inside of me.  It just hasn’t come yet.  But I know that if I stay open, when whatever it is that is meant to come my way, finally makes its appearance, I will be open to it.  I’m not sure if it will give me the testimony of Christ as I’ve pictured it or as I’ve experienced it before. I suspect it might be something completely new.  And as Christ taught, new wine must go in new bottles (Mark 2:22).

What I will not do is truncate myself to fit within the box labeled Testimony of Christ, because that doesn’t feel like faith.  Faith feels like holding uncertainty and hope in the same hand, knowing that God’s got this, for me and for you.  Whether it’s Christ or Ala or Buddha or whoever,  God is clearing the pathway in this life and the next.  That is my Easter testimony this year. Namaste.